March 18, 2010

Court rejects appeal by killers

— The Associated Press

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has upheld the convictions of two Auburn men in the killings of two men whose bodies were found buried in shallow graves in Lewiston.

Tommy Dyer and Gary Gauthier Jr. were convicted in October 2006 of murdering James Vining and John Graffam, both of Auburn, with a baseball bat. The victims' bodies were found by deer hunters in October 2005 near abandoned railroad tracks in Lewiston.

Justice Thomas Delahanty II sentenced Dyer to 47 years and sentenced Gauthier to 60 years.

In their appeal, the men raised issues about instructions that were given to jurors in Androscoggin County Superior Court. Gauthier also contended that his 60-year sentence is excessive.

The court unanimously rejected all of their arguments in a ruling issued Thursday.

The two defendants were tried together, with Dyer pointing the finger at Gauthier and trying to portray himself as an unwilling participant in the killings.

Prosecutors said the men were together during the attack, and that both buried the bodies and lied to police about what had happened.

The defendants were linked to the victims through DNA and blood found on clothing, the baseball bat, beer cans and cigarette butts.

Police said there was bad blood stemming from a confrontation that Dyer and Gauthier had with Graffam in the Androscoggin County Jail.

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