AUGUSTA — For the past 14 months, Gary S. Raub has been behind bars awaiting trial on a charge of criminal homicide in the June 1976 stabbing death of a 70-year-old woman in her Augusta home.
His lawyers and the prosecutor have filed a number of pretrial motions in the case, and a judge last week set the trial for late May or early June in Kennebec County Superior Court.
Raub, now 65, was homeless and living on the streets of the University District in Seattle in his native Washington state when he was arrested following an undercover sting. Raub was asked to take part in a “chewing gum survey” that was actually a move by authorities to get a sample of his DNA. Maine police had tested items kept from the Augusta murder scene and said Raub’s blood and DNA were on some of them.
The charge against Raub – the equivalent of what is now a murder charge – says he “knowingly inflicted great physical suffering” while intending to kill Blanche M. Kimball. Kimball was a retired dental technician and practical nurse who occasionally took in boarders at her State Street home. Raub, then known as Gary Robert Wilson, lived at her home for a short time.
Investigators questioned Raub twice shortly after Kimball’s death, and he denied any involvement.
LONG RAP SHEET
Then, in December 1976 – just six months after Kimball was found dead – Raub was in court on a charge of burglarizing a home at 7 East Crescent St., not far from the Lawrence House, on Water Street in Augusta, where he was living at the time.
In April 1977, Raub was sentenced to five years in the Maine State Prison on the burglary conviction, with Justice Edward Stern noting that “if (Raub) hadn’t been apprehended, the evidence indicating that he had a dangerous knife in his hands, the consequences might have been a great deal more serious.”
Once free, Raub returned to the West Coast, winding up in trouble not long after he got to his native Clallam County.
In a letter dated June 21, 1982, Clallam County prosecutors sought certified copies of Raub’s sentencings in Maine, indicating there was a charge of third degree rape pending against him in Washington.
Maine State Police interest in him was rekindled after he was accused in an October 2011 stabbing in Seattle that injured another homeless man – an incident Raub’s attorneys, Kevin Sullivan and Sherry Tash, are seeking to keep from jurors.
The defense attorneys have sought a number of other things as well, including access to evidence storage and an opportunity to present an alternative suspect theory. The state wants to exclude from the trial evidence of alternative suspects.
“Based on discovery, it is evident that the state’s case is based wholly on the results of DNA and blood testing of the items allegedly collected at the scene,” they say in filings in Kennebec County Superior Court. “Apart from such test results, nothing connects the defendant to the alleged crime.”
They say that many of the items of clothing collected from Kimball’s home “apparently disappeared or were intentionally destroyed” and want jurors to be aware of that. However, they seek to keep from jurors photos of the crime scene and autopsy “as they are particularly gruesome.”
Justice John Nivison, in an order dated Dec. 13, said pretrial hearings to resolve those issues will be set for March.
BROKEN HOME LIFE
Recently, a sister and brother of Raub, both of whom still live in Washington, talked about Raub’s early years, offering some perspective on the man whose arrest mug shot showed him with purple streaks on both sides of his white beard and a flesh-colored bandage on the top of his head.
Myrna Raub, Gary’s older sister, is convinced he’s innocent of the Kimball slaying.
“They found one drop of blood, and they said it was my brother’s,” Myrna Raub said. “They tricked him to get his DNA. Then they said they lost all the evidence except that. I think he had nothing to do with that. I believe him. I think it’s just a set-up. They found the perfect person to blame it on.”
Gary Raub was one of eight children born on the Macah American Indian reservation in Washington and removed from their mother’s home when they were young.
“The eldest one was 11,” Myrna Raub said. “She was taking care of us.”
Myrna Raub said the children were split up and the experience was traumatic for all of them. She was one of four sent to live with one family until they were removed and split up again a few years later.
“They should have put us in Indian foster homes,” Myrna Raub said. “I think we would have turned out better. I’m still mad at the system for doing that to us. We weren’t allowed to see the others.”
Her younger brother Charles Raub recalls being taken from his parents’ home when he was about 4 years old.
He and Gary and some of the others tried to evade capture.
“It was 1956-57 probably, on the eastern end of Port Angeles by a Navy dance hall,” Charles Raub said. “That’s when I remember running away with my brothers. I’m 61. They did that 57 years ago. Laws were a lot different. We grew up in foster homes. I grew up in numerous, numerous, numerous foster homes.”
He also spent time in juvenile facilities.
“Gary was lucky and he got adopted,” Charles Raub said. “He just stayed with the Wilsons.”
The Raub family members believe Gary Raub’s adoptive father was in the Navy, so Raub came to New England with them, taking their name.
But that adoption apparently cost him tribal benefits.
“Since Gary was adopted, he didn’t get any of the benefits we’ve gotten,” Charles Raub said. “He didn’t get any of my mother and dad’s land.”
Charles Raub said he and Gary are not close.
“He came to Seattle when I was 18,” Charles Raub said. “I had gotten out of juvenile institutions. We were able to find each other through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They knew where all of us were. Somehow we all kind of found each other.”
When he and Gary met infrequently as adults, they would drink together, but Charles Raub said he hasn’t seen his brother in years.
“I knew he was in the (University) District. I didn’t make any effort to find him because I just get (angry) at him. I have a temper and all that, too, but I do have common sense.”
Charles Raub said he sometimes beat up his brother, partly for claiming to be a veteran.
“I’m pretty sure my brother Gary has never even been in the Boy Scouts, much less the Army,” Charles Raub said. “I’m the veteran. I was with the 9th Infantry in 1972 and 1973.”
HOMELESS IN SEATTLE
Raub testified under oath at his burglary sentencing hearing in Augusta on April 7, 1977, that he was never in the military.
“I had two busted eardrums and I never served,” he said. At that time he said he was adopted at age 13 and eventually moved to Maine, living in Portland for about 11 years.
He said he left school around eighth grade and then was trained in laundry and dry cleaning work.
At that same hearing, Raub also testified he spent six years in prison in Littleton, Colo., for assault with a deadly weapon.
Myrna Raub recalls a visit by Gary to their mother in California shortly after he was released from prison in Maine, and later Myrna visited him in a Seattle hospital as he recovered from a vicious beating.
“He got beat up with a baseball bat and got run over and left for dead,” Myrna Raub said. “He can walk today. He made it. It’s amazing.”
She, too, made no effort to contact him during the past few years while he was homeless.
“I don’t really know what he was like when he was in Seattle. He never called home. I would just hear from people that saw him.”
Court records held in the Maine State Archives show that Raub, under the name Gary Robert Wilson, was charged with a series of crimes in Maine starting in the mid-1970s, and he spent a lot of time in the Kennebec County jail, where he is being held today.
In 1971, he was convicted of assault, high and aggravated, in Superior Court in Augusta, receiving a two-year suspended sentence.
Then in 1972, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail for taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and operating under the influence in Calais.
That same year, he did 30 days in jail in Machias for disorderly conduct.
In 1973, he was jailed for 90 days after being convicted of assault and battery in Portland, and in 1973 and 1974 he was convicted of what was labeled intoxication.
ALCOHOL COMMON DENOMINATOR
Then while living on Page Street in Hallowell, he was charged with assault with intent to rape a 16-year-old girl who was a resident of the Augusta Mental Health Institute. The girl said he attempted to rape her on May 6, 1975, as she sat on the grounds of the institute, but she fought him off.
Doctors who examined her found bruises on her vagina and scratches and bruises on her face and neck.
A jury in Kennebec County found Raub guilty of that offense in September 1975, and a judge sentenced him to 1 to 3 years in prison.
However, court records show that Raub was freed on bail pending appeal – two homeowners put up their homes as surety – and ultimately the trial judge granted a new trial because of newly discovered evidence.
That trial never took place because the state dismissed the charges, citing insufficient evidence and witnesses who were out of state and unavailable.
On Sept. 17, 1976, Raub was ordered to spend three months in the county jail with all but 69 days suspended – which he had already served – and a year’s probation for threatening oral communication, high and aggravated.
The indictment in that case says that Raub was armed with a knife on April 28, 1976, while telling a man, “John, I’m gonna kill you. I’ll kill your wife and baby, too.”
He was ordered to undergo alcohol treatment as part of that sentence.
But four days later, a Kennebec County sheriff’s deputy found an intoxicated Raub in Manchester, his car off the road.
“On the floor of the car were several empty beer cans and some full ones,” Daniel Dodge, a probation and parole officer, wrote to the court, seeking to have Raub’s probation revoked. “A .32 caliber pistol with live ammunition was found alongside the road in the ditch.”
Dodge said Raub admitted he had thrown the weapon from the car, which was stolen. A day later in the jail, Raub was still “suffering the ill effects” from having consumed so much beer.
Then in April 1977, some 10 months after Kimball’s death, Raub was sentenced to five years in prison for the Augusta burglary.
In each of these offenses, he has a different address, Bridge and Water streets in Augusta and Page Street in Hallowell.
And in most of the cases, alcohol is a common denominator.
He addressed it on the witness stand in April 1977 after he spent 40 days at Merry Meeting House, an alcohol rehabilitation center.
A transcript from that hearing shows that Raub told the judge, “Well, the only thing I can say is that I did try to correct my alcohol problem, and I went to this rehabilitation center, and they have my medical records and it has helped me out quite a bit.”
Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at: