Man pleads guilty to robbery that prompted street closure

A 39-year-old Portland man pleaded guilty on Wednesday in federal court to robbing a Portland pharmacy and prompting city police to close Congress Street for several hours.

U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II said Jason Campbell pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court before Judge Jon D. Levy to robbing the CVS pharmacy at 510 Congress St. on April 11.

According to court records and evidence presented at the plea hearing, Campbell entered the pharmacy carrying a backpack. As he approached the pharmacy counter, Campbell opened the backpack, told the pharmacist he had a bomb, and displayed what appeared to be a soda bottle with wires attached to it.

Campbell then told the pharmacist to evacuate the store and close the gate at the front of the store. He demanded that the pharmacist give him opioid pain medications. Once he had the drugs, Campbell ran off, disposing of his outer clothing and backpack in a nearby trash can.

The Portland Police Department’s bomb squad closed Congress Street, between Brown and Casco streets, for 3½ hours after they found his backpack. The device was a backpack with a cellphone attached by wires and what appeared to be a plastic soda bottle containing liquid. Police determined that the objects were not explosive.

A store clerk recognized Campbell and police went to his home on Alder Street, where he was arrested.

Campbell faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will be sentenced after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.


Man charged in death of baby girl pleads not guilty

A Bangor man charged with causing fatal injuries to a 5-month-old girl he was babysitting has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.

WLBZ-TV reports that Samuel Moore pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Penobscot County Superior Court to charges connected to the death in March. He was held without bail pending a bail hearing at a future date.

Authorities say 5-month-old Korbyn Antworth suffered multiple rib injuries and brain hemorrhaging.

The 25-year-old Moore was employed as the child’s caregiver. He’s also charged with assault for allegedly choking the baby’s 3-year-old brother.

Moore told police that he accidentally dropped the baby, but investigators say her injuries were consistent with shaking.

Moore’s attorney refused comment on the proceedings.


Town councilor pleads not guilty to drunken driving

A Gorham town councilor pleaded not guilty Wednesday to operating under the influence, according to a clerk in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court.

Benjamin Hartwell, 34, was charged with drunken driving in March after he drove his car off Fort Hill Road in Gorham and hit a tree.

The incident reignited a discussion among Gorham town councilors about what criminal convictions should force a member of the council to step down.

The council had a similar discussion two years ago, after Councilor Suzanne Phillips pleaded guilty to operating under the influence. The council decided, at the time, that drunken driving didn’t constitute a crime of “moral turpitude,” the town charter’s threshold for requiring a councilor to resign.

Earlier this month, the council discussed defining that term within its rules and the town’s charter to include drunken driving convictions. A change to the charter would require voter approval.

The council put off votes on changing the council rules and holding a referendum in November to its meeting in July.

Hartwell’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 29.


Man convicted of stabbing girlfriend requests new trial

A Lewiston man convicted of stabbing his girlfriend 21 times has asked the state’s highest court for a new trial.

Cleveland Cruthirds was sentenced to serve 22 years of a 28-year sentence after he was found guilty last summer of elevated aggravated assault and other charges in the December 2011 attack.

Lawyers for the 27-year-old Cruthirds told the Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday that he should get a new trial because the trial judge made five errors. They included not instructing the jury that it could infer that evidence destroyed by police was favorable to Cruthirds. Among the evidence destroyed was the victim’s bloody clothing.

The court did not immediately rule.


Group petitions to have chemicals in plastics labeled

A group of parents, doctors, and public health advocates has petitioned the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to consider requiring manufacturers to report use of certain chemicals used in plastics.

The group delivered 2,071 petitions Wednesday in Augusta.

The chemicals, called phthalates, are often called “plasticizers” and are used to make plastics more flexible and durable. They are used in products like vinyl flooring, plastic clothes and personal care products.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says some types of phthalates have affected reproductive systems of lab animals and more research is needed to assess effects on human health.

The group said in a statement that current rules “fail to protect pregnant women.”


Paving work beginning on Casco Bay Bridge

Paving work is scheduled to begin Thursday on the Casco Bay Bridge.

Work crews will be grinding and paving the northbound side of the bridge from 9 a.m. until approximately 2 p.m., according to the Maine Department of Transportation.

One lane will be kept open, but slight delays are possible.

Travelers are advised to use caution when passing through the work zone.

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