ALFRED — A burglary suspect who is accused of causing a Wells woman’s fatal heart attack by knocking on her door and windows during a 2015 attempted break-in pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge of felony murder.

Carlton L. Young, 24, of Sanford said nothing at the brief hearing in York County Superior Court as he stood in a three-piece charcoal suit beside his attorney, Rick Winling. Winling entered the plea for Young and spoke on his behalf before Justice John O’Neil Jr.

Young had already pleaded not guilty at a prior court appearance to multiple burglary and theft-related charges. He was required to appear in court Monday to entered his plea to the felony murder charge after being indicted anew more than a year after his arrest.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Thaddeus West, did not seek to alter Young’s previously set bail amount of $30,000 cash.

The woman who died, 62-year-old Connie Loucks, was on the phone with her daughter when the line went dead shortly after Loucks told her that she thought the same burglars who had stolen her belongings the day before had returned.

Young was initially accused of being part of a burglary ring that broke into houses in southern Maine. He and at least one other person allegedly broke into Loucks’ home on March 21, 2015, when she wasn’t home, and then returned the next day to break in again, according to court records.

Prosecutors brought the felony murder charge after Young backed out of a scheduled plea and sentencing hearing on May 10 to the burglary charges. Young has remained in jail since his arrest in the days after Loucks’ death.

Under Maine law, a felony murder conviction requires that one or more people cause another person’s death while committing or attempting to commit another crime, such as robbery or kidnapping. Legal experts say the case likely will revolve around whether Loucks’ death was “a reasonably foreseeable consequence” of Young’s alleged actions.

Felony murder is a lesser offense than murder. If convicted of felony murder, Young faces up to 30 years in prison. Murder is punishable by a minimum of 25 years and up to life in prison.

Young is one of four people accused of participating in a burglary ring in southern Maine to support their drug habits. The others in the ring include Brian Cerullo, 26, of Alfred; Cathy Carle, 23, of Sanford; and Marissa Vieira, 24, of Sanford.

Of the four, prosecutors have so far charged only Young in Loucks’ death.

Cerullo, Carle and Vieira are each scheduled to appear in court to enter their guilty pleas and be sentenced on June 23, although details of how their cases may be resolved are not included in court records.

The four are accused of breaking into Loucks’ unlocked home on March 21, 2015, and stealing many pieces of jewelry. Wells police Officer Mark Rogers told Loucks after she reported the burglary that police believed the theft was committed by burglars who went door to door, first knocking to see if the houses were unoccupied.

The same burglars returned the next day, on March 22, to steal from her again, according to an affidavit in Young’s court files by Wells police Detective Todd Bayha. This time, Loucks was at home and told them to leave.

She then called Rogers on the phone to tell him she believed the burglars had returned.

“They were banging on the windows and doors of the residence. And when she asked them what they wanted, they stated they were looking for ‘Billy,’ ” Loucks told Rogers in that phone call, at 12:32 p.m.

Loucks’ daughter, Sarah Loucks, called the Wells Police Department nine minutes later, at 12:41 p.m., to report that she had just been on the phone with her mother when the phone line suddenly went dead, Bayha wrote in his affidavit.

When Rogers and another officer arrived at Loucks’ home on Wire Road minutes later, they forced their way into the house and found her unresponsive on the couch. They were unable to revive her.

It was determined that she had died of a heart attack.

Investigators charged the foursome with the string of burglaries after they discovered some of the stolen items had been sold at a pawnshop in Biddeford under Carle’s name. When confronted by authorities, Carle confessed that she and the others had committed the burglaries, according to Bayha’s affidavit.

 

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