State court denies appeal of manslaughter conviction

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday denied the appeal of Ernest Weidul, who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Roger Downs Jr. in Portland in 2010.

Weidul, 53, challenged a Superior Court judge’s denial of his motion to exclude statements he made to police, claiming he did not voluntarily waive his Miranda rights.

Downs, 46, died of his injuries after he and Weidul got into a fight. The two had spent hours drinking in Downs’ apartment on Forest Avenue.

The two men were strangers when they encountered each other on May 5, 2010. Weidul scraped his truck on the guardrail near Downs’ apartment, and Downs invited him inside to use the telephone. They drank a bottle of coffee brandy, bought a second bottle and got into a fight.

Downs regained consciousness after the fight and called an ambulance to take him to Mercy Hospital. He died after going into severe respiratory distress at the hospital.

Weidul was sentenced in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court to serve 16 years in prison.


Oakland man takes break, winds up with car in lake

An Oakland man who stopped to relieve himself ended up with a wet car Wednesday when it rolled into Salmon Lake.

Nobody was hurt in the incident and the car was later pulled from the lake, said Chief Deputy Everett Flannery of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident occurred around 6:15 p.m., when Mark A. Leighton, 32, of Oakland pulled his 2007 Mitsubishi Gallant into the Spaulding Point Boat Landing. Leighton told deputies that he pulled the emergency brake but failed to put the car in park, Flannery said.

“He turned around when he heard a splash and saw his vehicle in the water,” Flannery said. A report did not say how deeply the car was submerged, but radio reports Wednesday night indicated water reached the windows.

There wil be no charges in connection with the accident, Flannery said.


Former deputy sentenced for molesting 4 young girls

A former Somerset County sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually molesting four young girls at his wife’s day care center in Norridgewock.

Horace Barstow was sentenced Wednesday to serve four years of a 10-year prison sentence to be followed by 10 years of probation. Prosecutors say the plea bargain was approved by the girls’ families.

The prosecutor said in court the girls were prepared to testify that Barstow, 67, had touched their genitals. The contact occurred in November and December.

Barstow acknowledged that the crimes had occurred and that the accounts read in court were correct. His lawyer said he wanted to take responsibility.

The day care center has since been closed.


Jay man headed to prison for sexually assaulting child

A Jay man is going to prison for five years for sexually assaulting a child several years ago.

David Grover, 53, was sentenced Thursday in Franklin County Superior Court to a 10-year sentence, with five years suspended.

Grover pleaded guilty Monday to gross sexual assault involving a girl between the ages of 9 and 15.

The Sun Journal reported that Justice Michaela Murphy said she rejected other plea-agreement offers but accepted this one because the victim felt it was a just sentence.


Cause of deadly explosion may never be determined

The Maine Fire Marshal’s Office says it’s unlikely that the cause of an explosion and fire that killed a New Limerick man will be determined.

Budsen Anderson, 79, died Wednesday afternoon when the storage building he was in blew up in his backyard.

Authorities said Anderson was working on lawn equipment just before the explosion, which leveled the building.


Prosecutors won’t retry former music teacher

Prosecutors have decided not to retry a former Searsport elementary school teacher whose conviction on charges he sexually abused a 12-year-old were overturned by the state’s highest court.

William Wiley had been sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of sexually abusing the girl over a six-month period in 2004.

Wiley, a former music teacher, said in his appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court that he had not been advised of his Miranda rights prior to questioning by police and statements made before and after his arrest were involuntary.

The high court agreed with Wiley.

WABI-TV reported that Waldo County prosecutors have dismissed charges against Wiley.

The alleged victim was not one of his students and he always maintained his innocence.