Suspect in Amity slayings back in Maine for arraignment

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted July 12, 2010, at 9:31 a.m.

AMITY, Maine — The 20-year-old charged earlier this month with three counts of murder in connection with the June 23 slaying of two men and a 10-year-old boy was returned to Maine Monday. He will be arraigned on the charges at 10 a.m. July 21 in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton.

Also on Monday, an Orient man who allegedly helped the accused conceal evidence of the triple homicide, said Thayne Ormsby told him the killings followed a confrontation over a $10,000 drug debt owed to a third party.

Robert Strout, 63, said he and his wife opened up their home in Orient to Ormsby, who showed up covered in blood a few weeks later after 55-year-old Jeffrey Ryan, his 10-year-old son, Jesse, and 30-year-old Jason Dehahn were stabbed in the nearby town of Amity.

Strout said Ormsby told him he went to Ryan’s home after a drug dealer told Ormsby that Ryan owed him $10,000 he wanted collected.

Ormsby was arrested on July 2 in Dover, N.H., and held on a fugitive from justice charge. The murder charges against Ormsby came shortly after he told Maine State Police Detective Dale Keegan that he had stabbed all three to death, according to an affidavit written by Maine State Police Detective Josh Haines. Keegan traveled to New Hampshire to conduct the interview.

Ormsby was indicted on three counts of murder and one count of arson by the Aroostook County grand jury on Friday. The arson indictment was lodged because Ormsby allegedly stole Jeffrey Ryan’s truck after the killings and set it afire on a field road in Weston.

Ormsby waived extradition from New Hampshire on Friday.

Kate Simmons, spokeswoman for the Maine Attorney General’s Office, said late Monday afternoon that the state police returned Ormsby to Maine. He was booked at about 5 p.m. into the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton, where he will be held without bail until the July 21 hearing. She said the court will appoint an attorney at the hearing.

Ormsby, who lists his hometown as Ellsworth on his Facebook page, reportedly told Keegan that he killed Jeffrey Ryan because he believed Ryan was a drug dealer.

A criminal background check on Ryan revealed no history of drug-related offenses.

Ormsby was driven to New Hampshire two days after the killings by Robert Strout, who had been housing the 20-year-old at the home owned by him and his wife, Joy, since just after Memorial Day. Strout told police that he took Ormsby to Dover to live with his son, Robert Strout II.

Ormsby is connected to the Strout family because his mother, Maria Ormsby, is a longtime friend of Tamara Strout, one of Robert and Joy Strout’s daughters. Tamara Strout is also the mother of Mariah Ryan, the teenage daughter that Strout has with Jeffrey Ryan.

Mariah Ryan was reportedly dating Ormsby, and Ormsby told police that he intended to move to Weston to fix up Tamara Strout’s home so that he could live there with Mariah Ryan.

Joy Strout told the Associated Press on Monday that she and her husband are disabled and that Ormsby helped them by cooking and cleaning and tending to their pheasants, quail and other birds.

During his stay, Ormsby was respectful, polite and helpful, she said. He didn’t drink alcohol, and he rolled his own cigarettes. He sometimes smoked marijuana, but never at their home, she said. The Strouts encouraged him to earn a GED diploma and to find a job, she said.

Joy Strout said she was at a loss to explain how Ormsby turned from a decent person one moment into a “monster.”

“All I can say is that the Thayne that was here at our house helping us when we were sick is not the person that went up to the trailer and killed those people,” she said. “I don’t know why, I don’t know how.”

Ormsby reportedly did not discuss the crimes in detail with investigators, but police garnered information about the killings from Robert Strout.

According to the state police affidavit, Strout told investigators that Ormsby came to his home shortly after the slayings and told him that he killed Jeffrey and Jesse Ryan and Dehahn. Strout said that Ormsby threatened to harm his family if he did not help him conceal evidence of the crime.

Strout allegedly was behind the wheel of his own truck as he followed Ormsby, who was driving Ryan’s truck, to the home of Tamara Strout after the killings so Ormsby could burn his blood-soaked clothing in her furnace. Strout said he also followed Ormsby as he drove Ryan’s vehicle to the field road so he could burn the stolen vehicle. He also told police that he took the 20-year-old to a bog on U.S. Route 1 in Orient so Ormsby could throw the weapon allegedly used in the killings into the murky water.

Ormsby has denied threatening Robert Strout or any member of the Strout family and said that Robert Strout advised him to leave town after the killings.

Strout has not been charged with any crime. Simmons said on Monday evening that she could not comment on whether additional charges are pending against anyone in the case.

Also on Monday, a background check of Robert Strout revealed a criminal history dating back to 1966.

In 1966, Strout was living in Bar Harbor and was convicted of taking a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner. He served approximately three months in jail for the felony at what is now the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.

In 1972, he was convicted of misdemeanor interfering with an officer and paid a $100 fine. Three years later, he was convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and paid a $25 fine. All of the charges took place in the Bar Harbor and Ellsworth areas.

Strout also was convicted of a number of offenses in Ellsworth and Aurora, according to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Those convictions were for trespassing, criminal trespassing, shooting from a motor vehicle or boat, discharging a firearm near a dwelling, hunting in a public way, reckless hunting, illegal possession of deer and littering. He was sentenced to pay fines for most of the offenses, which took place between 1986 and 2002, but was ordered to serve three days in jail and pay a $500 fine for the 1986 illegal possession of deer charge.

Meanwhile, Robert Dehahn of Amity, the father of Jason Dehahn, said Monday that he and his family “definitely” plan to attend Ormsby’s 10 a.m. July 21 court hearing. Dehahn said he believes that Ormsby is not the only person involved in the crime, adding that he believes charges should be filed against Robert Strout for helping Ormsby, a sentiment echoed by Jake Dehahn, Jason’s brother, last week.

BDN writer Rich Hewitt and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/07/12/news/suspect-in-amity-slayings-back-in-maine-for-arraignment/ printed on September 17, 2014