Man sentenced to 45 years for killing two men in 2009

Eric Hamel of Mexico, the third person implicated in a 2009 double killing in Rumford, was sentenced Thursday to 45 years in prison.

It wasn’t Hamel’s idea to kill the men, but he agreed to participate, Superior Court Justice Robert W. Clifford said in setting the sentence.

Under a deal with prosecutors, Hamel had pleaded guilty to two counts of murder. His friend, Richard Moulton of Mexico, was sentenced last month to 40 years in prison.

After the killings in August 2009, Hamel told police that he and Moulton went to a home in Rumford, and that Hamel shot Victor Reed Sheldon and Roger Leroy Day Jr. using a handgun stolen from a neighbor.

Moulton told investigators that his girlfriend, who was Sheldon’s estranged wife, planned the killings as payback for an alleged assault and because she feared Victor Sheldon would get custody of their children. Hamel said he agreed to kill the men, whom he had never met, for $2,000.

Gayla Sheldon, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and criminal solicitation, was sentenced to 15 years for helping plan the killings.


Police believe deer in road led to driver’s death in crash

A teenager died in a car crash late Wednesday, apparently after trying to avoid a deer in the road, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.

Cameron L. Vanvlack, 18, of Harpswell was heading south on Harpswell Neck Road when he lost control of the 1995 Volkswagen Golf about 10:15 p.m. The car left the road, hit a tree, flipped and hit a second tree roof-first. Vanvlack died at the scene. No one else was in the car.

The sheriff’s office said speed and the deer were believed to be factors in the accident.


Priest on leave during probe of misconduct allegations

The Rev. Jacob Fles has been placed on administrative leave while the Episcopal Diocese of Maine investigates allegations of misconduct.

A letter to parishioners dated Sept. 22 from Bishop Stephen Lane said “this leave will remain in place until the proceedings now commenced under our disciplinary canons have reached a final resolution or accord.”

Under conditions of the leave, Fles may not function in any capacity as rector of Christ Church or as a priest of the Episcopal Church. Neither Fles nor any member of his family may have any contact or conversation with any person who may have made allegations against Fles, or attempt to influence their statements.

Fles has conducted services at the parish for 17 years. Lane said the complaints allege specific instances of misconduct that, if true, would constitute one or more offenses of the church’s disciplinary canons. Fles will continue to receive salary and benefits during the investigation.

Fles had returned to his duties as rector of Christ Church on June 1 after 18 months. Fles, who had been ill with Hepatitis C and pulmonary hypertension, a secondary condition caused by liver disease, underwent a liver transplant in which his daughter donated 60 percent of her liver during a procedure at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass.


Credit union buys property where Arby’s had operated

The site of an Arby’s restaurant on Forest Avenue has been sold to a credit union, ending its days as a fast-food location.

The property was purchased by cPort Credit Union. It had been owned by Butler Forest Investors. Terms were not disclosed.

The property’s days as an Arby’s date back to the late 1970s, when the restaurant was opened by Ken and Jim Raffel, sons of one of the founders of the roast beef sandwich chain. The chain was launched in 1964 by their father, Leroy Raffel, and his brother, Forrest. Arby’s stands for RB’s, for Raffel Brothers.

The chain was sold in 1976, and Jim Raffel frequently clashed with the new corporate owners over his desire to serve non-Arby’s items in addition to the chain’s fare. At one point, he opened a restaurant called Emily K’s inside the Arby’s, selling roasted chicken and other items.

Arby’s sued, and the Raffel brothers opened up a new restaurant, Raff’s, on the site, before they changed it back to an Arby’s in 1998.

Superintendent to request five teaching-staff hires

Superintendent Jim Morse will ask the Board of Education to add five people to the system’s teaching staff to meet enrollment and health-related needs.

Morse proposed in a memo to the board that Portland hire one kindergarten teacher at Reiche Elementary School for about $50,000; an educational technician for kindergarten and an educational technician for fourth grade at Ocean Avenue Elementary School; and an educational technician for fifth grade at the Presumpscot Elementary School.

Morse is also asking that the board authorize hiring a medical educational technician who would assist school nurses working with “medically fragile” students attending the Lyseth Elementary School.

Morse said an ed tech’s salary is about $25,000. Funding to cover all the positions will come from the overall savings that resulted from replacing staff who retired at the top of the wage scale with less expensive staff.

The board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Room 250 of the Casco Bay High School.


Pair took SUV for test drive, didn’t come back, police say

Two Lebanon residents are facing charges that they took a Chevrolet Tahoe for a test drive Friday from M&J Auto Sales in Lebanon and then didn’t return it as promised.

Gregory Adkins, 53, and Sharon Shelton, 50, were arrested the next day in Keene, N.H. Adkins and Shelton reportedly told police they were on their way to a “family emergency” in Charlestown.

Fosters Daily Democrat said they were arraigned Monday on charges of receiving stolen property.

They are each being held on $2,500 cash bail.


Remains found in harbor are those of popular local man

The Maine medical examiner says a set of remains found in Southwest Harbor are those of a well-known local man who had been missing for a year.

The medical examiner used DNA to positively identify the remains of Pete Peterson, 61, who has been missing since last September.

Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said no cause of death had been determined, but there is no indication of foul play. He said the role of the police is complete.

Despite disabilities, Peterson was well known in Southwest Harbor, and friends on Mount Desert Island helped search for him after he disappeared.

Sue Parsley of Southwest Harbor told the Bangor Daily News that Peterson was a fixture in the community.


Foliage halfway toward peak in northern half of the state

Conservation officials say the northern half of Maine is more than halfway toward peak foliage.

The Maine Department of Conservation says the region from roughly Greenville north is now experiencing high foliage conditions, with colors 50 percent to 70 percent toward peak.

Moderate colors are showing up in a swath across central Maine from Rangeley to Bangor and Calais.

Trees in southern Maine and along the coast are just starting to show their colors. Leaf-peepers can get the department’s weekly foliage reports at


Bear attacks hunter who shot it, then it gets shot again

A North Carolina bear hunter says a 450-pound bruin pinned him to a tree and bit his leg after being shot in Maine.

Paul “Pudge” Lyndon McFalls, 39, was on an annual hunting trip with relatives and their dogs when they spotted the bear Thursday morning. The Tuckasegee man told the Bangor Daily News that he shot the bear when it got within 20 feet of him.

McFalls says the bear fell down but soon stood up. McFalls shot the bear twice more, and it lunged at him. He says the animal shook his leg “like a dog with a bone.”

He reloaded his gun and shot the bear a fourth time, killing it.

McFalls suffered gashes and puncture wounds.

– From staff and news services