WATERVILLE — A local man was charged Friday with the murder of 92-year-old Aurele Fecteau, who was found stabbed to death in his bed at his Brooklyn Avenue home last month.

Roland Cummings, 44, was arrested Friday afternoon and taken to the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. Cummings grew up in the Bingham and Waterville areas and did household chores for Fecteau, McCausland said in a press release.

Fecteau’s body was found May 23 in his home at 33 Brooklyn Ave. by members of his family. After viewing the scene, Waterville police called in the Major Crimes Unit of the Maine State Police.

Fecteau’s family isn’t familiar with Cummings, the deceased man’s daughter-in-law, Lorraine Fecteau, said Friday night.

But she said the family is happy about the arrest.

“We are so very thankful to the Maine State Police and Waterville Police Department detectives working this case and certainly have a new appreciation for their diligent investigative skills and training,” she said in an email.

“Waterville and state police worked virtually around the clock for the last two weeks,” McCausland said in an interview Friday. “Most of it was done behind the scenes, but we obviously scoured through the house for two to three days before releasing it back to family members. A great deal of evidence was gathered, analyzed at the crime lab and culminated with today’s arrest.”

Police said Fecteau’s home had been burglarized. McCausland would not disclose additional details Friday about the burglary or its possible motive, but he noted that the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency was also involved in the investigation.

Cummings’ sister, Deborah Berry of Waterville, said in an interview Friday that her brother has been taking the prescription drug Suboxone, which is prescribed to those with opiate addictions, and has struggled with drug addiction in recent years, including the use of bath salts. She said his “downfall” started about three years ago following the death of their father.

“He’s been in a downward spiral,” Berry said, speaking from her mother’s Waterville house Friday night. “He got in with the wrong crowd.”

Berry said the family was in shock Friday over Cummings’ arrest, especially since the Cummings family knows Fecteau’s family.

She said her brother had performed household chores for Fecteau – carpentry or mowing the lawn, for example – as recently as a few weeks ago.

When police began questioning Cummings this week, Berry said the family asked him if he did it. He said no and broke down crying, Berry said.

“I believed him at the time,” Berry said. “My mother can’t believe it.”

Fecteau’s slaying led to a heavy police presence in the Brooklyn Avenue area for a couple of days while detectives searched for clues and interviewed people in the neighborhood, which is near Waterville Senior High School.

Fecteau, who lived alone, was a longtime resident of Waterville and had retired from Scott Paper Co. in Winslow.

His death was ruled a homicide following the results of an autopsy performed by the chief medical examiner. Police wouldn’t say before the arrest what led them to believe it was a homicide.

The investigation led police on Monday to Skowhegan, where a house on Milburn Street was searched for clues. Police would not say at the time whether any evidence was found in the search, but McCausland said Friday that the Skowhegan home belonged to a friend of Cummings, who had spent some nights there.

At the time of the slaying Cummings was unemployed and was living with his mother in Waterville.

He is scheduled make his first court appearance on Monday or Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta.

Neighbors said after Fecteau’s death that his usually well-manicured lawn had not been mowed recently.

“He was good about keeping his lawn mowed,” said Nancy Morissett as police combed the neighborhood in the days after the killing. “He used a riding mower.

Even with him not being able to see too good, he’d be out there, and I thought last night it was kind of strange because I saw him two or three days ago.”

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said Friday, “I’m pleased with the investigation and pleased there is finally an arrest.”

Fecteau was a 1940 graduate of Winslow High School and was survived by seven children. An avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing with his sons, Fecteau worked for 40 years as a paper machine tender for Hollingsworth & Witney and Scott Paper companies until his retirement.

Berry, the suspect’s sister, said one of her other brothers called a Fecteau family member following Cummings’ arrest.

“We feel bad for the family,” she said.

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

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