ALFRED — An Old Orchard Beach man charged with murder in his roommate’s slaying in March entered a not guilty plea Monday in York County Superior Court.

Dustan Bentley, 30, is accused of killing 65-year-old William Popplewell on March 19 in the apartment they shared on Boisvert Street in Old Orchard Beach. Popplewell died from stabbing and blunt force trauma, according to an autopsy report by the state Medical Examiner’s Office.

During a brief court hearing Monday morning, Bentley’s attorney, Robert LeBrasseur, said that his client understood the charge and entered a plea of not guilty. Bentley, wearing a dark suit and blue shirt, did not speak during the hearing.

Dustan Bentley, right, is shown during a court appearance in March. (Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Bentley has been held without bail since he was arrested the day of the killing.

An affidavit in the case has been impounded, court clerks said. A criminal complaint filed by Maine State Police Detective Ethel Ross said Bentley intentionally or knowingly caused the death of Popplewell. No further information has been released about the killing or the evidence against Bentley.

State police discovered Popplewell’s body at the Ocean Condos building around 10:30 p.m. March 19 after receiving a phone call from Bentley’s mother, who lives in North Carolina, Lt. Mark Holmquist told reporters the day of murder. Holmquist did not explain how Bentley’s mother knew that her son’s roommate was dead.

The men met about two years ago at Portland’s largest homeless shelter, but it was not clear how they ended up sharing the Old Orchard Beach apartment, Holmquist said. They had been living in the apartment in a two-story, multi-unit building near the beach for about two months.

Holmquist said that detectives interviewed Bentley at the Old Orchard Beach police station on the day of the slaying, and arrested him around 6 p.m.

Since 2016, Bentley has been convicted of assault, unlawful possession of a scheduled drug, criminal trespass, theft by receiving stolen property and violating conditions of release, according to state records. All of the charges were misdemeanors.

William Popplewell Photo courtesy of family

Popplewell, who went by “Bill” or “Billy,” lived in Indiana and Maryland before moving to Maine, according to his obituary. His wife of 20 years, Suzanne, died in 2009. His family described him as a man with a “huge heart” who loved animals, nature, and fishing and canoeing in the mountains at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, according to his obituary.

“Throughout his adult life he was known for helping others no matter what their need. He helped with repairs and errands or whatever was necessary,” his family wrote in his obituary. “He was there for friends in need, both young and old, with his sweet heart, encouraging words and sense of humor to help lighten things up during tough times.”

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