High court overturns ruling for DNA testing in murder

Maine’s highest court has overturned a lower court ruling that denied a Dexter man’s petition for DNA testing of items belonging to an alternative suspect in connection with his 2002 murder convictions for killing his ex-girlfriend and a toddler she was baby-sitting.

Jeffrey Cookson is serving two life sentences for the 2001 execution-style shooting deaths of 20-year-old Mindy Gould and 21-month-old Treven Cunningham.

Cookson asked a lower court to require DNA testing on clothes and other items worn by a man who claimed to have killed Gould and the boy but later recanted.

The lower court denied his request, but the Maine Supreme Judicial Court vacated that decision Tuesday and sent the case back to the lower court for further consideration.


Man pleads guilty in filing false tax return, ID theft

A 42-year-old man has pleaded guilty to filing a bogus tax return seeking a refund in another person’s name.

Robert Andre Bouthot, formerly of Arundel, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Portland to filing a false claim for a tax refund and identity theft.

Prosecutors say Bouthot received an $11,169 tax return in the name of a Maine woman based on fictitious wages and tax withholdings from Hannaford Bros. and a made-up first-time homebuyer credit. The woman had no idea her name was on the return.

The Internal Revenue Service uncovered at least 26 false tax returns filed by Bouthot using other people’s names seeking refunds totaling $190,000.

Bouthot will face up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing in August.


Mass. man charged with drunk driving in rollover

A Massachusetts man was charged with drunken driving after the tractor-trailer he was driving rolled over on Route 112 Wednesday morning.

Zachary Wilhite, 26, of Groveland, Mass., was heading east when the 18-wheeler left the road on an S-curve and rolled onto its side around 1:45 a.m., said Sgt. Bruce Cote. The tractor-trailer, filled with bottled Poland Spring water, went off the road near the intersection of Whitten Drive.

Wilhite suffered minor injuries, Cote said. No one else was involved in the accident.

The road was closed for about an hour, from roughly 7 to 8 a.m., after the wrecker service arrived, Cote said.


Scarborough woman gets spot in Broadway show

Alison Cimmet, who grew up in Scarborough and attended Waynflete School in Portland, got her chance to star on Broadway on Wednesday.

Cimmet took over the lead role in the new musical “Baby It’s You” when Tony Award nominee Beth Leavel bowed out because of illness.

Cimmet took over the matinee in the afternoon and again at night. The show opened last week and has received poor reviews.


Iraq war vet helps cops pull woman from burning car

An Iraq war veteran who helped pull an injured woman from a burning car says he had done it before.

William Stover, 31, of Pittston earned two Purple Hearts during service in Iraq in 2004.

Over the weekend, Stover and three police officers pulled Tracee Pushard, 47, of Richmond from her burning car moments before it went up in flames.

Pushard’s car had hit the guardrail on Route 9 Saturday night, then hit a utility pole.

Police say Pushard was hospitalized, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Stover told the Kennebec Journal that burning vehicles were a frequent sight in Iraq and he had dealt with burning people and burning cars.


Mother of stabbed boy seeks help for headstone

The mother of a 10-year-old boy who was stabbed to death last year is asking for help from the public so she can get a headstone for her son’s grave.

Jesse Ryan was one of three people stabbed to death in June in Amity.

WGME-TV said Jesse’s mother, Jamie Merrill of Lewiston, has set up a fund at the Lewiston branch of the Bangor Savings Bank to take donations for the headstone.

A trial is expected to be held this fall for the suspect charged with killing of Jesse, his father Jeffrey Ryan and family friend Jason Dehahn.

The attorneys for suspect Thayne Ormsby say he wasn’t properly read his rights when he confessed to the killings in June. Ormsby is being held without bail.


Man convicted in slashing death seeking new trial

A Bangor man who was convicted in the slashing death of a 19-year-old woman is seeking a new trial.

Colin Koehler was convicted last fall in the August 2009 death of Holly Boutilier of Old Town along the Bangor waterfront, but he has denied involvement.

Attorneys for Koehler, 36, filed a motion Tuesday arguing that another man, identified as John Whitney, told Koehler in jail that he was with Boutilier shortly before her death and that she walked away toward the waterfront area with two other men, but not Koehler.

According to the Bangor Daily News, the motion argues that Whitney claimed to have spoken with an investigator after Boutilier’s death, but that defense lawyers were not informed of the interview, which would be a violation of discovery rules.


Nurses, Medical Center reach contract settlement

Unionized nurses at the Eastern Maine Medical Center have ratified a new labor contract with the hospital’s management.

The Maine State Nurses Association said Tuesday night’s vote was one of its closest ever.

The nurses and the hospital reached a tentative one-year contract agreement with the hospital late last week after eight and a half months of negotiations. The main issue separating the two sides was nurse staffing levels.

About 830 unionized nurses have been working without a contract since September. The hospital’s board of directors unanimously approved the proposal on Wednesday.


Martial arts head gives $100,000 to athletic facility

Hermon High School’s athletic facilities are being upgraded thanks to a $100,000 gift from the head of a top mixed martial arts association.

Dana White donated the money to Hermon High, where he graduated in 1987. White now lives near Las Vegas and is president and CEO of Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The money has bought a scoreboard and message board that will be installed on the school’s athletic field. Also being purchased is a new grandstand and other seating to increase the capacity.

Principal Brian Walsh told the Bangor Daily News that White made the donation following a visit to the area last Labor Day weekend.

Mixed martial arts is a combat sport that combines elements of karate, judo, jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing and wrestling.


State warns deadline near on moose lottery applications

The state’s fish and game department says the deadline is closing in for online applications for the 2011 moose hunt lottery.

Applications for permits are due by 11:59 p.m. May 13. The only applications still being accepted are those filed online at www.mefishwildlife.com.

The department is encouraging applicants to apply online before 5 p.m. May 13. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says this year, 3,205 permits will be allocated in the state’s 28 Wildlife Management Districts.