LEWISTON

Four charged in beating of two middle-schoolers

Police say four people have been charged in an attack on two Lewiston Middle School students that landed them in the hospital.

Of the four people charged, three are students, while a fourth was charged after going to Lewiston Middle School on Thursday as part of the ongoing dispute between two groups of students.

No names were released because of the ages of the victims and the suspects.

Deputy Police Chief James Minkowsky says the victims were jumped and beaten Wednesday by a larger group of youths while walking to the Lewiston High School track.

Police did not disclose a motive.

Minkowsky told the Sun Journal the department will increase patrols in the area of the attack.

Six sentenced for roles in drug-seeking crime spree

Six people have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a crime spree in the Lewiston area last year that included three home invasions.

Jason Jean, Ryan Thompson, Nicholas Malcolm, Midnight Blue, Elaine Desrosiers and Victoria Pinkham were sentenced Thursday in federal court to sentences ranging from one year to 24 years for the January 2011 spree.

Prosecutors say all the accused were involved in a plan to force their way into an apartment to steal crack cocaine and heroin.

The Sun Journal reported that two of them, convicted felons, carried guns. When the first home invasion netted them only jewelry, they forced their way into another home to steal prescription drugs. A third home invasion days after the first two netted some of the suspects more prescription medication.

SACO

Local man to be sentenced as armed career criminal

A Saco man faces more than 15 years in prison as an armed career criminal after pleading guilty to federal charges of being a felon in possession of a handgun.

Charles H. Casey Jr., 39, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Portland. Casey was arrested June 17 by Saco officers after he fired a Taurus .22-caliber handgun inside his apartment on Washington Avenue.

A 26-year-old woman told police that during a dispute at about 8 a.m., Casey fired a shot from a semi-automatic pistol into an interior wall. Nobody was injured, but Casey was seen walking in the area with a gun tucked into the waistband of his pants.

Casey has multiple criminal convictions including three convictions for burglary — a felony. Because of that, he will be sentenced as an armed career criminal. Federal law requires that he be sentenced to at least 15 years and up to life in prison. He also faces a fine of $250,000 and will be on supervised release for five years after getting out of prison.

The case was investigated by Saco police and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as part of the U.S. attorney’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative.

NAPLES

Man injured trying to pass tractor-trailer on Route 302

A Naples man was hospitalized with serious injuries Thursday after his pickup crashed into trees during an aborted effort to pass a tractor-trailer truck on Route 302.

Henry Brown, 63, was thrown from his 2006 Chevrolet pickup, landing in the road and suffering serious head and internal injuries, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. He was not wearing a seat belt.

Brown was driving eastbound at 7 p.m. and tried to pass a tractor-trailer truck near the Bridgton-Naples town line. Brown swerved into the westbound breakdown lane to avoid an oncoming car but lost control. The pickup truck hit a tree and rolled over. Brown was thrown from the cab.

Brown was taken to Northern Cumberland Memorial Hospital by Naples rescue.

Investigators say speed and improper passing contributed to the crash.

PORTLAND

Renowned autistic scientist to lecture May 13 at USM

Renowned autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin will speak next month at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Center.

The life of Grandin, 64, an animal scientist who has autism, has been the subject of numerous national television programs and magazine articles, as well as an HBO movie that won seven Emmy awards in 2010.

Grandin will give a 90-minute lecture called “Autism and My Sensory Based World” at Hannaford Hall on May 13 at 3 p.m. Tickets are sold out.

The event will benefit speech and language therapy services for children at Northeast Hearing and Speech in Portland.

AUGUSTA

Stabbing suspect ordered held on $1 million bail

An Augusta man accused of fatally stabbing his roommate has been ordered held on $1 million bail.

Michael Young was ordered held at a hearing Thursday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Prosecutors say Young, 40, killed his roommate, David Cox, 46, on June 11. The two were in a relationship. Authorities say there were signs of a struggle in their apartment.

The Kennebec Journal reported that Young’s attorney depicted the death as an accident. She told the judge that Young woke up to find Cox stabbed and believes he accidentally tripped and fell on a knife. His lawyer said Young was the one who called 911 and cradled Cox in his arms until authorities arrived.

The state medical examiner said Cox’s wound was “not consistent with an accidental stabbing.”

WATERVILLE

Former state economist to preside at Thomas College

Thomas College has hired a Maine economist and business leader as its first female president, its trustees announced Friday.

Laurie Lachance, the president and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation, was named after a national search. She will begin her new job on July 1.

Lachance has led the Maine Development Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes business and economic growth, for the past eight years.

Its programs include Leadership Maine, Policy Leaders Academy, the Maine Downtown Center, the Maine Employers’ Initiative, and the Maine Economic Growth Council.

Lachance received her MBA from Thomas in 1992. Prior to joining MDF, she served as Maine state economist for 11 years, under three governors.

“Laurie is a brilliant match for Thomas in every way,” said Todd Smith, the college board co-chair and chair of the presidential search. “She has the skills and passion to lead the college into its next phase of excellence.”

Lachance and her husband, Dave Lachance, live in Manchester with their two sons.

Items found in river being tested for link to missing tot

State police are analyzing items that were found Wednesday in the Kennebec River, but it is unknown whether they are related to missing toddler Ayla Reynolds.

“Some items were recovered from the Kennebec River yesterday,” Department of Public Safety Spokesman Steve McCausland said Thursday. “The items have been taken to the state police crime laboratory for analysis.”

McCausland wouldn’t offer details about what the items are, but said they were found near the Hathaway Mill, within the dam sluiceway.

“At this point, we have no idea if it is in any way connected with the ongoing investigation; but our lab technicians will look at those items, as they have for all other items police have gathered since December.”

He declined to answer additional questions.

Ayla was reported missing from her Violette Avenue home by her father on the morning of Dec. 17. Police believe foul play was involved, and they say the three adults who saw her last — father Justin DiPietro; his girlfriend, Courtney Roberts; and sister Elisha DiPietro — aren’t forthcoming with information.

Blood trail outside nightclub leads police to stabbed men

Police say two men were sent to the hospital with serious knife wounds after apparently being involved in a fight outside a city nightclub.

Chief Joseph Massey says officers were called to Chez Paree at about 1 a.m. Thursday but found no one there.

They followed a trail of blood and found a man in a nearby apartment building slashed across the chest so deeply his ribs were visible. Another man there had been stabbed in the elbow and groin.

Massey told the Morning Sentinel the injured men were not cooperative.

One man was sent to Maine Medical Center in Portland; the other to MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Unit. Their names weren’t released.

A third man with a minor injury, whom police think was involved in the dispute, was also detained.

STOCKTON SPRINGS

Body of man, 64, found along shore; skiff overturned

A man’s body has been recovered from along the shore of a Maine harbor.

Officials said the body of Thomas Hoge, 64, was found Friday morning in Stockton Springs about 500 yards from where his skiff was found overturned in the harbor, tied to his sailboat.

Colin MacDonald of the Marine Patrol told WABI-TV Hoge is thought to have been in the harbor Thursday evening, but nobody witnessed what happened.

Officials said Hoge is a summer resident of Stockton Springs and is thought to live in Maryland the rest of the year.

AUBURN

Former egg farm worker sues for back overtime pay

A former employee at the former DeCoster Egg Farms in Turner has filed a lawsuit claiming he wasn’t paid overtime wages while he worked there.

In his complaint in Androscoggin County Superior Court, Leo Sierra Flores of Lewiston claims he regularly worked more than 40 hours per week at the farm, but wasn’t paid the mandated time-and-a-half rate for his overtime hours during the 21/2 years he worked there.

His lawyer, Donald Fontaine, told the Sun Journal that Flores is seeking $100,000 in back wages, damages and attorney’s fees.

The former owners of the farm could not be reached for comment.

The farm is now operated by a division of Land O’ Lakes, which last year agreed to take over operations of three farms formerly run by DeCoster.

OXFORD

Casino has 100 more jobs to fill before June opening

Maine’s newest casino is hanging out a “help wanted” sign.

The Oxford Casino has held two job fairs that drew about 1,000 people, but still needs to fill more than 100 jobs — primarily cashier, food and beverage, and housekeeping positions — before it opens in early June.

Spokesman Scott Smith says the casino will have close to 400 employees in all.

He says interested job seekers should apply on the casino’s website.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Police await cause of death for woman pulled from river

Police say they have not determined the cause of death for a Portsmouth woman found in waters near Kittery, but they do not believe the public needs to worry.

Debra “Debbie” Dockham, 57, was pronounced dead at Portsmouth Regional Hospital after she was pulled from the Piscataqua River near the Kittery shore, police said.

Police say Dockham was a regular presence in downtown Portsmouth and are hoping her friends and people she would have had contact with can shed light on where she was and what she did Thursday, said Capt. Corey MacDonald.

The Coast Guard was notified Thursday at 6:30 p.m. of what appeared to be a wet suit floating in the water, but what turned out to be a woman dressed in pink.

The body was brought to shore in Kittery, and Maine State Police, Kittery police and Portsmouth police investigated the case initially. The Portsmouth department is now leading the investigation.

Authorities are waiting for the New Hampshire medical examiner to determine a cause of death.

— From staff and news services