Tuesday, December 10, 2013
From staff and news service reports
Readfield man gets 6 months for burglaries
A Readfield man authorities say robbed the homes of Jehovah's Witnesses when he knew they were at church events has been sentenced to six months in jail, thanks in part to the forgiveness of his victims.
Jarrod Bilodeau was sentenced Tuesday to four years in jail with all but six months suspended and three years of probation on six burglary charges. He was also ordered to pay more than $20,000 in restitution.
Authorities say he stole jewelry and other items from homes in Augusta, Farmingdale, Vassalboro, Wayne and Winthrop between Nov. 17 and Dec. 12. He was related to some victims.
The judge told the victims in court she would impose the light sentence only because they were there to support it.
Maine welfare theft nets woman 9 months
A Clinton woman will serve nine months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $47,000 in welfare benefits over five years.
Theresa Rice-Goodrich, 32, was sentenced Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court to three years in prison, with all but nine months and one day suspended, and two years of probation. She had pleaded guilty to theft by deception and unsworn falsification.
Court records said Rice-Goodrich misrepresented that her three children lived with her from January 2006 through August 2011 in order to benefit from the Temporary Aid to Needy Families and food stamp programs. Rice-Goodrich admitted to the judge that the children lived with other relatives during that time except for three months in 2010.
Rice-Goodrich was ordered to pay restitution of $46,394.
Maine marine denies charges in double fatal crash
A U.S. Marine from Maine has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and drunken driving charges in connection with a car crash in June that resulted in the death of his sister and another passenger.
Travis Lawler was released on $1,000 cash bail after pleading not guilty Tuesday to two counts of manslaughter and aggravated operating under the influence.
Prosecutors say the 23-year-old Lawler was home on leave from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina when the car he was driving went off the road and crashed into a tree in Belgrade on June 16.
His sister, 20-year-old Kristin Lawler of Oakland, died at the scene. Another passenger, 25-year-old Jackson Bolduc of Belgrade, died the next day. A third passenger survived.
His lawyer had no comment.
Rabid Maine dog highlights need for vaccination
A rabid beagle that died in Albion three weeks after it tangled with a raccoon was the first dog diagnosed with rabies in Maine since 2003.
The beagle bit owner Larry Hubbard before it died, a scenario that state health officials said often happens when an unvaccinated domestic animal contracts the fatal disease.
The beagle, Duke, had no apparent injuries after a daylight raccoon attack in the yard of the home on Barnes Road in mid-July, Hubbard's wife, Jeannette Hubbard, said.
When Larry Hubbard hit the raccoon with a shovel, it ran into the woods and disappeared.
A sick Duke bit his owner more than a week later but it wasn't severe, Jeannette Hubbard said.
State epidemiologist Stephen Sears said the event highlights the importance of vaccinating pets, a message the Maine Center for Disease Control is stressing as World Rabies Day, this Friday, approaches.
Sears said that vaccinations are the best method to keep pets and owners safe.
The awareness is one reason that only about a half-dozen people contract rabies nationwide each year. In Maine, no human rabies cases have been documented since the 1930s.
Injured harness-racing driver improves to serious condition
Leigh Fitch, a veteran harness-racing driver renowned for his success, longevity, technique and the number of crashes he's been in, remained hospitalized in serious condition Tuesday night after experiencing an apparent medical problem as he was getting up to speed before the start of a race.
Fitch, nicknamed "The Fox," of Sebago, was driving Monday night in the fourth race at the Cumberland County Fair when he fell out of his sulky moments before the starting truck raised its gate, fair officials said.
The racers were moving about 30 mph when Fitch fell.
It was Fitch's first race since breaking his neck in a crash at Scarborough Downs in May.
Fitch was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center. Doctors upgraded his condition from critical to serious on Tuesday.
Fitch, who celebrated his 67th birthday Friday, has won 7,589 races over a career spanning 50 years.
Only three drivers in Maine have won more races, according to the website, meharness.com.
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