Justices deny man’s appeal of 2010 murder conviction

Maine’s highest court has upheld the conviction of a Portland man who is serving a 40-year sentence for fatally stabbing his girlfriend in 2009.

In a unanimous ruling Thursday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court rejected the appeal of William Hanaman, who was convicted of murdering 47-year-old Marian Shea. Testimony revealed that Hanaman stabbed Shea eight times before trying to take his own life.

In his appeal, Hanaman argued that the judge in his 2010 trial made a mistake when he refused to instruct jurors that they could find him guilty of manslaughter if they believed he killed Shea in the heat of passion after being provoked.

Supreme Court justices disagreed, concluding that the evidence at trial didn’t support his claim.

Officials visiting Russian city to advise on trash disposal

City Councilor Ed Suslovic and ecomaine General Manager Kevin Roche are heading to Russia today to help the city of Archangel create a plan to address environmental problems.

The U.S. State Department is paying their travel expenses, and the city of Archangel is paying for their accommodations. Suslovic said Portland is not spending any money on the trip.

Archangel is one of Portland’s four sister cities. When Russian delegations visit Portland, Suslovic said, their visit to the ecomaine plant is usually the highlight of the trip because its recycling operation is so sophisticated compared with trash facilities in Russia. He said Archangel burns trash in an open pit.

Roche will be in Russia for two weeks, and Suslovic for a month. Suslovic said he will be checking emails from constituents daily.

He is staying longer than Roche in part to help chaperone four Portland High School students who will visit Archangel School #6. The students, who will discuss environmental issues with the Russian students, raised money to pay for the trip. They will stay with host families.


Faulty wiring sparks fire that leaves man homeless

An electrical fire that started on a porch and spread to a bedroom on the upper floor of a two-story home left a tenant homeless Thursday night.

Capt. Norman Gendron said crews responded to the report of a fire at 19 Hillside Ave. around 5:45 p.m.

The man, who was renting the home, rescued his dog and was able to escape without injuries.

But Gendron said the fire caused heavy smoke and water damage, making the residence unlivable for the time being. The tenant was expected to spend the night with friends.

Gendron said faulty electrical wiring, which he said was installed in the 1940s, sparked the fire. The property’s owners live in New Hampshire.


Ex-legislator, former justice Samuel Collins Jr. dies at 88

Samuel Collins Jr., a longtime legislator and former Maine Supreme Court justice, has died at age 88.

Attorney Stephen Hanscom, who worked with Collins for a number of years, said Collins died Thursday at his home in Rockland.

A Caribou native, Collins graduated from the University of Maine and Harvard law school before practicing law in Rockland. He was appointed Maine Supreme Judicial Court justice in 1988 and served until his retirement in 1994.

Collins served five terms in the state Senate. He was majority leader for the 1981-82 session and a minority leader the following session.

Collins was the uncle of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who called him a “person of such integrity and intelligence that people naturally turned to him for advice and leadership.”


Woman sentenced for trying to smuggle drugs into jail

A Houlton woman has been sentenced to prison for trying to smuggle drugs into jail.

Dyan Reeves was sentenced Wednesday in Aroostook County Superior Court to three years and nine months in prison after pleading guilty to trafficking in prison contraband.

Prosecutors said Reeves, 35, was reporting to serve a jail sentence on another drug charge in September when guards discovered that she had 40 doses of gabapentin, a medication to treat seizure disorders and help relieve neuropathic pain that can be abused by drug users.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Reeves’ lawyer said her client is a drug addict who is remorseful and eager to get rehabilitation.


Manslaughter charge filed after crash that killed teen

A teenager from Owls Head has been charged with manslaughter after a car crash in June killed his 17-year-old passenger.

Maine State Police said Evan Altiero, 18, was driving a sports car that crashed on Route 73 in South Thomaston shortly before midnight on June 20. The car left the road and rolled several times.

The victim, Aleisha Sonksen of Owls Head, had just completed her junior year at Camden Hills Regional High School. Altiero suffered minor injuries. He was 17 at the time.

Authorities said Altiero was charged with manslaughter because he allegedly acted recklessly or with criminal negligence. Prosecutors told the Bangor Daily News that alcohol was not believed to be a factor, but speed likely was.


Owners of flower farm sue to stop building of turbines

Two Clifton residents are going to court to try to block a wind farm from being built near their flower farm.

Peter and Julie Beckford said in their complaint in Penobscot County Superior Court that town officials in Clifton erred in granting Pisgah Mountain LLC a permit for construction of a $25 million, five-turbine wind facility.

They are asking that the court rule on several issues they raised and send the matter back to the Planning Board for additional findings of fact and “a decision consistent with this court’s holding.”

The Beckfords said the wind farm would harm their health, happiness and quality of life.

Pisgah Mountain LLC already has all local permitting. Partner Paul Fuller told the Bangor Daily News that the legal action is “unfortunate.”


Man, 80, appeals for help after wheelchair is stolen

An 80-year-old Lewiston man is appealing to the public for help in getting back the motorized wheelchair he says was stolen from right under his bedroom window.

Dana Huard reported early Sunday morning that his electric wheelchair was stolen from in front of his apartment building.

Police Sgt. Michael Whalen said Huard reported the motorized chair stolen at 3:45 a.m. The case remained under investigation Wednesday.

The chair cost several thousand dollars and had been purchased within the past year.

Huard’s daughter told the Sun Journal newspaper that the chair is her father’s lifeline since he cannot drive because of failing eyesight.