Murder trial in northern Maine to get underway this week 

HOULTON, Maine (AP) — A Maine man charged with killing his 79-year-old stepfather in Bridgewater is due to stand trial. 

Jury selection in the trial of James Peaslee, of Easton, is set to begin on Wednesday. Opening statements will begin once a jury is seated. 

Police arrested Peaslee just hours after they responded to a 911 call and found Paul Hilenski’s body in his Bridgewater home in January 2018. 

Peaslee has been held without bail since then. 

Police have released little information but the indictment indicates a gun was used to kill Hilenski. Records indicate Peaslee has been convicted of multiple crimes including criminal threatening terrorizing, assault and drug trafficking. 


Bill would offer rewards to break up wildlife trafficking 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s Republican senator wants the federal government to offer rewards to people who provide information against illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching. 

Sen. Susan Collins says the Rescuing Animals With Rewards Act would authorize the State Department to offer such rewards. She’s introducing a bill about the subject with Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon. 

Collins says the wildlife trade is a major threat to the survival of vulnerable species around the globe. Her office says in a statement authorizing rewards for people who provide information about traffickers would enable the feds to “do more to tackle this insidious and growing threat.” 

There is a companion bill to the proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives. Several animal welfare and wildlife advocacy groups have endorsed the idea. 


Maine takes final comments on legal pot from residents 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine officials are taking the final public comments from residents about the proposed rules that could govern legal marijuana in the state. 

Maine has draft rules in hand, and held a public hearing on them in May. The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy is accepting comments about the proposal until Sunday. The rules would govern issues such as taxation, licensure and retailing. 

Voters approved adult use of marijuana in Maine in 2016. State officials say the draft rules could be provisionally accepted, which would trigger a legislative process in which lawmakers must ultimately approve them. The state could have legal marijuana in stores as soon as early 2020. 


Seacoast Mission finds new boat to continue mission 

NORTHEAST HARBOR, Maine (AP) — With its boat out of commission, the Seacoast Mission has identified a temporary replacement to continue its work on Maine’s islands. 

Engineer Storey King has found a 34-foot Downeast Cruiser that’ll do the job. The boat will officially go into service on Wednesday. 

It’s being christened the Moonbeam, and will serve while the mission’s regular boat, the Sunbeam, is undergoing maintenance and refitting. 

Moonbeam will be stationed in Northeast Harbor. 

Mission President John Zavodny said that boats are necessary to the mission of delivering food, medicine and health care to islanders. It also provides opportunities for worship. 


Woman accused of bilking $274,000 from couple cuts deal 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A 61-year-old woman could serve two days in jail for allegedly convincing an elderly man to drain his savings account to finance a “boutique” senior housing complex. 

The Bangor Daily News reports that former critical care nurse Amy McLellan of Brunswick pleaded guilty Friday to felony misuse of entrusted property. But the court could end up dismissing that charge if she complies with court-ordered conditions and has no new criminal conduct. 

McLellan didn’t respond Sunday to a request for comment. 

Police say she bilked an elderly couple out of $274,000 to finance a senior housing complex at the former Brunswick Hospital. 

Police say McLellan met the couple while the husband, who suffered from Parkinson’s, was her patient. His wife said her husband was “in love” with McLellan. 


Police: Crash leaves 66-year-old woman dead 

BUXTON, Maine (AP) — Maine police say a 66-year-old woman walking on Main Street died when a car hit her. 

Buxton police say a 17-year-old boy from Windham drove the green Chevy that struck the woman Saturday around 5:47 p.m. on Main Street. 

The crash occurred near the intersection with Salmon Falls Road. 

Police say the Buxton woman died at the scene from injuries resulting from the crash but released few details. 

Saco Police are helping to investigate the crash. 


Good day for toms as Maine turkey hunt ends for spring 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s season for hunting wild turkeys in the spring has ended for the year. 

The Pine Tree State allows hunters to pursue the birds in spring and fall to help control their population. Wild turkeys were once rare in Maine, but the population rebounded after years of conservation efforts. 

The spring season ended on Saturday. Hunters are allowed to bag the birds all over the state, though hunters in far northern Maine are limited to only one bearded turkey. Hunters elsewhere are allowed two bearded birds. 

The fall turkey season begins on Oct. 1 and the rules allow hunters to bag birds of either sex. 

Hunting slows down in Maine in the summer. The next major season is the bear hunt, which begins in late August. 


Man killed in officer-involved shooting outside Burger King 

GORHAM, Maine (AP) — A police officer shot and killed a man outside a Maine fast food restaurant Friday evening, authorities said. 

The Maine attorney general’s office spokesman Marc Malon said Standish resident Kyle Needham was killed in a shooting outside a Burger King restaurant in Gorham. 

Gorham officer Dean Hannon shot the 32-year-old Needham when he tried to escape from police in a truck, Malon said. 

The attorney general’s office says Needham used the truck to ram at least one police vehicle. Authorities said Needham was shot when it appeared another officer was in danger of being run over by the truck. No officers were injured in the incident. 

Police had asked for help locating Needham last month after he led troopers on a high-speed chase through Hollis. Needham was wanted on warrants including eluding law enforcement. 

The attorney general declined to provide further details while the office and state police investigate whether the shooting was legally justified. Officials with Gorham Police Department declined comment. 

The Portland Press Herald reports Hannon has been placed on administrative leave. 


Teen sentenced to 3 years in fatal crash 

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A Maine teen is set to serve three years of a 10-year sentence for manslaughter in a crash that left his best friend dead. 

The Sun Journal reports 19-year-old Ethyn Buotte was sentenced Friday in Franklin County Superior Court. He pleaded guilty to causing the death of 19-year-old Griffyn Smith, a passenger in a 2018 one-car crash in Weld. 

The state dismissed a charge of operating under the influence in exchange for the plea. 

Prosecutors said then-18-year-old Buotte was speeding when he lost control of his car that spun, rolled over several times and hit a tree. Prosecutors said the cause of Smith’s death was blunt-force trauma. 

Evidence showed Buotte had alcohol and an opioid painkiller in his system. 

Buotte’s attorney said he is very remorseful and finished high school. 


Atomic bomb survivor delivers message of peace to COA grads 

BAR HARBOR, Maine (AP) — An atomic bomb survivor is delivering the commencement address at the College of the Atlantic in Maine. 

Koko Tanimoto Kondo is a peace activist who was 8 months old when the first atomic bomb detonated near her home in Hiroshima. She and her mother were buried under rubble. 

At age 10, she was with her father in the United States when they met the co-pilot of the B-29 that dropped the bomb on a TV show. She said she wanted revenge but that meeting Air Force Capt. Robert Lewis changed her mindset, and helped her to learn how to forgive. 

The commencement is being held Saturday in Bar Harbor. 

Kondo and retired Acadia National Park wildlife biologist Bruce Connery were both receiving an honorary master’s of philosophy degree in human ecology. 


National park sees record number of visitors 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Acadia National Park again saw a record number of visitors last year. 

Maine Public reports over 3.5 million people visited Acadia in 2018. 

That’s a 70 percent increase from 2008. 

Acadia National Park is one of Maine’s top tourist destinations in the summer months. It’s famous for Cadillac Mountain, the high point of the North Atlantic’s seaboard. 

The agency estimates visitors spent about $388 million in nearby communities, on everything from hotels, food and recreational. 

Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Martha Searchfield says the increase in visitors has helped sustain the area’s economy. 


Maine man dies in crash after buying motorcycle 

ANSON, Maine (AP) — Police say a Maine man who’d just purchased a motorcycle suffered fatal injuries in a crash while riding it home. 

The Somerset County Sheriff Department said 66-year-old Barry Morriss, of Madison, Maine, was pronounced dead Friday at Redington-Fairview General Hospital. 

Investigators say Morriss had just purchased the motorcycle and was riding it back to his residence when he crashed in Anson. He was being followed by his step-son in a vehicle. 

Officials say Morriss was flung into a ditch after losing control of the motorcycle. Investigators believe speed and inexperience are to blame, but the crash remains under investigation. 


Maine law to require medical pros conduct insurance reviews 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Insurance companies’ medical reviews of patients must be conducted by medical professionals under a new Maine law. 

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the proposal into law on Thursday. Mills’ office says the new law requires that appeals of a health insurance carrier’s denial of health care treatment be conducted by a licensed practitioner who is board certified in the proper specialty. 

Mills says it’s important for medical professionals with the same training as a patient’s personal doctor conduct the reviews, and not insurance company officials. She says the law will protect families from having to justify a member’s need for medical care to “insurance company officials only looking out for the bottom line.” 

Democratic Sen. Geoff Gratwick, of Bangor, proposed the law change. Gratwick is a retired doctor. 


Teen charged with manslaughter to remain at juvenile center 

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — A judge has ordered a teenager charged with manslaughter in connection with a park brawl to remain at a South Portland, Maine, juvenile facility. 

The Sun Journal reports that the judge said Thursday that the teen, who turned 18 on May 10, could be placed in a less-restrictive environment if one is found. 

Thirty-eight-year-old Donald Giusti died from injuries he suffered last June in a brawl at Lewiston’s Kennedy Park, an incident that contributed to racial tension in the city. A medical examiner determined the cause of Giusti’s death to be blunt-force trauma. 

Police say the teen was 16 when he threw a rock that’s believed to have hit Giusti. Also charged with assault are a 23-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy. 


Motel owner charged with abusing 3 children 

BUCKSPORT, Maine (AP) — Court documents indicate a Maine motel owner accused of abusing three children bound a 6-year-old girl and hung her upside down from a hook as punishment. 

An affidavit filed in court indicates the assaults happened at the Spring Fountain Motel in Bucksport while the owner was watching the three siblings while their mom was at work. 

Kaleem Adnan, who goes by “Danny,” denies harming the kids, and said they were making up lies against him because he cut off their cable TV and video games. 

He’s facing felony assault charges, as well as opioid charges. Adan, who’s due in court in June, said he intends to fight the charges. 

 

 

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