Lawyer asks to have hearing for girl, 11, closed to public

The lawyer for an 11-year-old girl who is charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of an infant has filed a motion to have an upcoming competency hearing closed to the public and media.

Attorney John Martin said he wants to protect the Fairfield girl’s privacy.

The girl was charged at age 10 with juvenile manslaughter in the death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, who was staying overnight in the girl’s home in the care of the girl’s mother.

She is believed to be the youngest person charged with homicide in Maine in at least 30 years, perhaps ever.

The Morning Sentinel reported that prosecutors oppose closing the hearing scheduled for next Thursday.

The prosecution’s response said keeping the hearing open is needed to maintain “trust in the criminal justice system.”


Man charged with sex abuse of girl over four-year period

A Sabattus man has been charged with sexually abusing a girl over a four-year period starting when she was 9 years old.

Michael Gagnier remained in the Androscoggin County Jail on Thursday on $50,000 cash bail following his arrest earlier in the week on a charge of gross sexual assault.

Police told the Sun Journal that the girl told a youth worker at a Lewiston church about the alleged abuse, and the worker informed child protection authorities.

According to court documents, when confronted by a child protection caseworker and the police, Gagnier, 33, acknowledged the abuse.

The father of three blamed it on his addiction to prescription painkillers.

He allegedly told police the contact included intercourse and he would often pray with the girl in an effort to stop.


Hunter gets nine months, $14,000 fine for poaching

A Turner man has been sentenced to nine months in jail and fined $14,000 for what authorities call one of the largest deer poaching operations they have ever uncovered.

Everett T. Leonard was sentenced Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

He pleaded guilty in December to charges including driving deer and night hunting. He also pleaded guilty to a drug offense. He was charged following an investigation by the Maine Warden Service.

The Sun Journal reported that Leonard blamed his behavior on his addiction to painkillers, something he says he has overcome. While the judge commended him for his drug rehabilitation, he said Leonard left “a path of carnage in his wake” with his hunting violations.

Leonard’s father, Everett H. Leonard, previously pleaded guilty to illegal-hunting charges.


Kids’ bus driver is sentenced for sex assaults, videotaping

A bus driver who transported special-needs children in New Hampshire and Maine has been sentenced to 160 years in prison for sexually assaulting and videotaping his young passengers.

John Wright, 46, of Milton received the maximum sentenced after pleading guilty to five counts of sexually exploiting children and one count of possessing child pornography.

Investigators said Wright, who was indicted in October 2011, drove special-needs children from Strafford and Rockingham counties in New Hampshire and from Kittery, Maine.

U.S. Attorney John Kacavas said some of the children were completely nonverbal and others had a variety of disabilities.

Investigators said they found thousands of images of child pornography on his computer.

Despite the sentence, Kacavas said it’s beyond his capacity to achieve justice for the young victims.


NOAA proposes increasing catch of monkfish for some

Federal fishing regulators are announcing another measure to try to lessen the impact of New England’s steep cuts in catch limits.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday that it’s proposing increasing the monkfish catch for certain fishermen who work an area off northern New England.

Those fishermen target bottom-dwelling groundfish, such as cod and haddock. They’re absorbing potentially disastrous cuts on those species in May, but many also have permits to catch monkfish.

Regulators say allowing groundfishermen to catch more monkfish in the so-called Northern Fishery Management Area can provide additional revenue as they try to survive the cuts.

Last week, regulators allowed fishermen to boost their 2013 catch by carrying over a percentage of 2012’s unused catch quotas.

The coming cuts are so deep, however, the impact of such measures is unclear.


Man arrested for bath salts for second time since Jan. 17

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has arrested a Waldoboro man on bath salts charges for the second time in just over a month, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Bradford Davis, 37, was arrested Wednesday at his home on Friendship Road on charges of trafficking bath salts and violating bail conditions.

State, county and local police were involved in the operation, which included a seizure of 20 grams of bath salts, said Steve McCausland, department spokesman.

At the time of his most recent arrest, Davis was free on bail following an arrest Jan. 17, when drug agents seized 44 grams of bath salts, McCausland said in a news release.

Davis was being held at the Two Bridges Regional Jail pending his arraignment Friday on the new charges.

Bath salts is the street name for synthetic stimulants such as mephedrone and methylone that are typically sold in powdered form in small, colorful packets.


Former Gardiner man free on time served in killings

A former Gardiner man who was charged in connection with the killings of a Maine couple in California is free.

Elijah Bae McKay, 30, is free after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact. His accomplice, Robby Beasley, 32, formerly of Augusta, has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2010 murders of Augusta couple Frank and Yvette Maddox in a drug-related case.

McKay was sentenced in California court Tuesday to two years behind bars. The sentence is less time than McKay had served since his arrest in 2010, meaning he won’t have to serve any additional jail time.

McKay, like Beasley, originally was charged with double murder. During his trial, McKay blamed Beasley.


Defense granted more time to prepare for woman’s case

A lawyer for a Deer Isle woman facing a manslaughter charge for allegedly running over her boyfriend has requested more time to prepare for the case.

An attorney for Kimberly Phelan, 30, was granted his request by a judge Thursday in Hancock County court.

Authorities say Phelan and Andrew Ray, 31, were driving home in the early morning hours last Sept. 15 after a night of drinking when they stopped in Blue Hill to smoke marijuana.

Police say they had an argument and when Phelan put the vehicle in reverse she ran over Ray. He later died at a hospital.

WABI-TV reported that court documents show her blood-alcohol level was more twice the legal limit.

Phelan, who is free on bail, is scheduled back in court April 18.


Five cars of chicken feed derail but remain upright

Authorities say five cars of a freight train carrying chicken feed derailed Friday but remained upright during the accident. No one was hurt in the derailment, which occurred at 6 a.m.

The train is operated by Pan Am Railways in Billerica, Mass. Cynthia Scarano, executive vice president for Pan Am, said the cars derailed as they were being switched for a delivery to a customer. She said the railway is investigating what happened.

She said since the cars remained upright, none of the chicken feed spilled from the train. At least three cars were back on track later in the morning.

The derailment led to the closure of Route 219 in Leeds, a town about 20 miles west of Augusta.