AUGUSTA — A New York man goes on trial Tuesday on charges of murder, felony murder and robbery in the beating death of an Augusta man in November 2015 that was apparently drug-related.

Aubrey N. Armstrong, 29, of Far Rockaway, New York, has opted for trial by a judge rather than by a jury, and the proceedings will be held in the Capital Judicial Center before Superior Court Justice Daniel Billings.

Aubrey Armstrong

Armstrong is accused of intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder in the death of Joseph Marceau, 31, as well as felony murder – which alleges Armstrong acted with others to commit a robbery that resulted in Marceau’s death – and robbery.

Armstrong was arrested on the Maine charges in Queens, New York, in July 2016.

The trial is expected to last through Friday, and two interpreters have been brought in to translate proceedings between English and the patois spoken in the South American country of Guyana.

It was not clear whether Armstrong is from Guyana. He is not a U.S. citizen but is legally in the United States, his attorney, Brad Grant, said. Armstrong was in the middle of a three-year prison term at the Southport Correctional Facility in Pine City, New York, when he was ordered returned to Maine to face the charges in the indictment.

Last August, two co-defendants – Damik Davis, 28, of New York and Michael Sean McQuade, 47, of Augusta – pleaded guilty to felony murder and robbery in connection with Marceau’s death. Both defendants signed plea agreements to cooperate with the prosecution of any remaining defendants, and the judge ordered those agreements sealed until the resolution of the murder charges against Armstrong. Both Davis and McQuade are expected to testify against Armstrong at his trial, according to documents filed in the case. In the meantime, Davis and McQuade remain in custody awaiting sentencing.

Joseph Marceau

The charges of felony murder and robbery, both Class A offenses, each carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison. McQuade’s attorney, Andrew Wright, told the judge at the time of the pleas that McQuade was pleading guilty under the theory of accomplice liability. Wright said McQuade was present at the time but did not strike Marceau himself.

At that plea hearing, the prosecutors, Assistant Attorneys General John Alsop and Jon Nathans, outlined the state’s version of the case against the two, saying two Augusta police officers responded to a fourth floor Washington Street apartment on Nov. 23, 2015, after downstairs neighbors reported a violent disturbance taking place above them. The officers heard the ruckus as they climbed the stairs, Alsop said.

Alsop said Davis, who is also known as “Doughboy,” answered the door “sweating profusely, breathing hard and had blood on his left hand.” Alsop also said officers saw blood on a wall as well as a second individual, described as a “slender black male wearing a hoodie” – believed to be Armstrong – behind Davis.

The officers asked for Zina Marie Fritze, 27, and McQuade, also known as “Dirty.” Both had been recently evicted from that apartment, but as the officers waited out front, the occupants fled down the back stairs, Alsop said. Police used a tracking dog and found Davis hiding in the bushes near the apartment building.

Marceau’s body was found in a bedroom near where Armstrong had been seen, Alsop said.

Alsop said the medical examiner concluded Marceau died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck and suffered a brain hemorrhage. Marceau also had been beaten.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams