January 30, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

BRISTOL

Woman set fire that killed her, investigators conclude

The state Fire Marshal's Office says a blaze at a home last month that killed a woman was intentionally set by the person who died.

The fire that killed Lynn Ring, 69, on Dec. 9 started in the garage and spread to the house. Ring's husband, John Ring, 70, suffered burns on his hands but survived.

A spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety told WABI-TV that an investigation determined that the couple argued over their car, and Lynn Ring got angry and set the car on fire.

The garage and the car were destroyed.

Investigators say firefighters prevented the fire from causing significant damage to the home, which was two years old.

DOVER-FOXCROFT

Mother of 13 denies trying to hire man to kill husband

A mother of 13 from Brownville has pleaded not guilty to trying to hire a man to kill her husband.

WLBZ-TV reported that Wendy Farley, 46, entered her plea Tuesday in Piscataquis County District Court in Dover-Foxcroft.

Farley was initially charged in September with criminal solicitation for murder for allegedly offering a friend between $3,000 and $10,000 to have her husband of 30 years killed. A grand jury indicted her on Monday.

Police say Farley wanted her husband's death to look like a hunting accident. An affidavit says she told the friend she wanted to escape her husband's strictness and needed her freedom.

Farley remains in jail pending trial.

EASTON

Officials fail to find cause of fire that killed brothers

Investigators say the exact cause of a house fire that killed two brothers in this northern Maine town can't be determined, but smoking can't be ruled out.

Officials say Mark Beaton, 57, and his brother, Paul, 56, were killed early Tuesday in a fire at a Mark Beaton's home. Eight other adults who were in the house escaped to safety.

The state Fire Marshal's Office said most of the group had been drinking for several hours before the fire was discovered, and most were also smoking. The fire started in the living room near a couch.

Officials said there were no smoke detectors in the house, and that the victims died of smoke inhalation.

HOULTON

Drug agents arrest three in connection with meth lab

Drug agents have arrested three people in northern Maine in connection with a methamphetamine lab allegedly being run out of an apartment in Houlton.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said it was alerted to the operation by people who reported strong odors of chemicals coming from the apartment and possible criminal activity.

WCSH-TV reported that drug agents on Tuesday night found chemicals, solvents, equipment and other materials used to make methamphetamine.

Police arrested three people on drug charges, including two who lived in the apartment. A toddler who also lived in the apartment has been taken into protective custody.

The Maine DEA said it raided 13 meth labs in 2012, with eight of those in Aroostook County.

GORHAM

Firefighter accused of filing false report about assault

A 22-year-old Gorham woman faces charges of filing a false report after initially telling police she was attacked by two unknown men in a pickup.

Police say Rachael Welsh, a Westbrook firefighter/paramedic, reported being assaulted and nearly abducted at 6:17 p.m. on Dec. 23. She was taken to the hospital to be treated for a minor cut and bruise, police said.

Investigators searched for men matching the description but also examined inconsistencies in Welsh's story, said Detective Sgt. Dana Thompson. Police ultimately determined she had made up the story and on Dec. 26 issued her a summons to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of filing a false report, he said.

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