AUGUSTA — A 46-year-old Augusta man indicted on a murder charge entered a series of no contest pleas Friday to a separate series of car burglaries and thefts that occurred largely in October and November 2015, shortly before the killing.

Michael Sean McQuade was found guilty of those offenses by Justice Daniel Billings, and he is to be sentenced later to two years in prison, the term recommended both by the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Kate Marshall, and McQuade’s defense attorney, Andrew Dawson.

Immediately before the hearing at the Capital Judicial Center, Billings met with the attorneys for McQuade and two other defendants indicted in the Nov. 23, 2015 death of Joseph Marceau, 32, of Augusta.

The case is scheduled to go to trial in November 2017.

Marceau was found beaten to death in what police said was a drug-related killing in an apartment at 75 Washington St., where McQuade lived with his girlfriend, Zina Marie Fritze. Fritze, 27, also was indicted in Marceau’s murder, but she died when she hanged herself at the Kennebec County jail a day after pleading not guilty.

On Friday, Billings warned McQuade that the convictions on the burglary and theft offenses could come up should McQuade testify at any trial in the future.

Marshall, too, said there were no promises by the state about the murder charge and that the burglary and theft cases were entirely separate.

McQuade said he understood and indicated he had discussed the matter with Andrew Wright, the lawyer representing him in the indictment on charges of intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder – three versions of the same crime – as well as felony murder and robbery. McQuade has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

PLEA DEAL

Marshall told Billings that Augusta police had taken reports of car burglaries between October and November 2015. According to police, the vehicles were burglarized Nov. 6-11 on River, Washington and Water streets as well as Julianne Lane and Northern Avenue.

McQuade was charged later with theft by deception for apparently taking merchandise from Kmart and Target and trying to return it to get cash.

In all, McQuade pleaded no contest Friday to two counts each of burglary and burglary of a motor vehicle, seven counts of theft by unauthorized taking and one count of receiving stolen property. Eight other charges were dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Marshall said Walgreens notified police on Nov. 5 that Fritze had been there, trying to pass business checks belonging to Shenanigans, a nightclub on Water Street in Augusta. The checks had been reported stolen that day from a vehicle belonging to one of the business owners.

Police found video showing Fritze walking around that vehicle, and when they confronted her, she indicated McQuade was involved. En route to search their Washington Street apartment, police saw McQuade and picked him up, and he admitted to the vehicle break-ins.

OTHERS CHARGED

McQuade allowed police to search his apartment, where they found items that had been reported stolen from vehicles, including keys, a DVD player and a scanner.

Marshall said McQuade also admitted stealing a snowblower from a garage on Oxford Street and tools from a vacant Washington Street building. Marshall indicated she was seeking $1,326 restitution from McQuade.

Damik Davis, 26, of Queens, New York, was the first man arrested in connection with Marceau’s slaying. Davis, too, pleaded not guilty to murder in three separate forms – intentional or knowing or depraved indifference – as well as felony murder, murder and robbery.

A third man charged in Marceau’s killing, Aubrey N. Armstrong, 27, of Far Rockaway, New York, is serving a sentence at the Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, New York. He was arrested on July 26 in Queens.

Court documents from New York indicate Armstrong was convicted in February 2014 in Queens Criminal Court of sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance. The verdict initially was reversed and then reinstated following an appeal, which was decided in April.

Armstrong has opposed extradition and has yet to be brought back to Maine to face the charges.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected];