Inmate claims self-defense in second inmate’s death

A Maine State Prison inmate serving 45 years for killing a woman in 1999 is claiming self-defense in the death of another inmate.

Fifty-year-old Franklin Higgins went on trial Monday in Rockland in connection with the death of Lloyd Millett, who was serving a life sentence for strangling two women over a weekend in 1995 while working as a farmhand in Turner.

Higgins was originally indicted for murder, but prosecutors revised the charge to aggravated attempted murder after an autopsy showed health issues may have contributed to Millett’s death.

Prosecutors say Higgins struck Millett with a vise clamp in the prison workshop on May 24, 2011. Millett died two weeks later.

Higgins’ attorney told jurors Monday that Higgins was acting in self-defense against the 300-pound Millett.


Mobile home damaged in early-morning blaze

A fire caused extensive damage to a mobile home Monday morning, but no one was injured.

Capt. Brett Jones of the Old Orchard Beach Fire Department said police were called to 2 Goosefare Drive around 6:45 a.m. Monday for a report of an alarm sounding. Fire crews arrived within minutes and found the single-wide mobile home in flames.

Firefighters had the blaze under control within minutes, Jones said. No one was home at the time of the fire.

“It was a very quick, aggressive stop by the crew. They did a great job,” Jones said.

The fire started in a bathroom, but the exact cause remains under investigation.

The man who lives in the home is being assisted by the Red Cross, Jones said. The man had his dog with him away from the home when the fire started.


Man sought after fleeing from cruiser in restraints

York County sheriff’s deputies are searching for a man who fled from a police cruiser Monday morning with his hands cuffed as deputies interviewed another man about stolen items from a commercial burglary.

Police pulled over a pickup truck driven by Kevin Lawlor, 31, of Standish at 1:15 a.m. Monday on Route 25 in Cornish. During the stop, the deputy saw metal in the back of the truck he suspected was stolen in a commercial burglary at Contour 360 in Cornish.

Deputies ultimately recovered $10,000 worth of carbide, which the company uses to make cutting tools.

The carbide sells as scrap for between $10 and $11 a pound, said Chief Deputy William King.

The deputy handcuffed Lawlor and put him in the back of a cruiser in investigative detention, though not under arrest. King said that while the deputy was interviewing Marc Murphy, 25, of Limington, Lawlor got out of the cruiser and ran, his hands still cuffed behind his back.

Murphy was charged with possession of stolen property and was being held in the York County Jail on $1,000 bail.

King said Lawlor was still at large Monday night and is likely facing a charge of theft of stolen goods as well as theft of police handcuffs.


Peace Nobelist to deliver Justice for Women lecture

A Nobel Peace Prize winner will deliver the University of Maine School of Law’s second annual Justice for Women Lecture. Leymah Gbowee of Liberia will deliver her speech on Wednesday.

Gbowee is an activist who led a peace movement that helped bring an end to the Liberian civil war in 2003.

She was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman, a female icon of the protest movement in Yemen.

Gbowee’s lecture will be held at the Westbrook Middle School. More than 800 people have registered to attend.

The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required.