Suspect in triple homicide seeks court-appointed counsel

Posted July 13, 2010, at 8:03 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:35 a.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — An Orient man who was indicted on three counts of murder and one count of arson in connection with a triple homicide in Amity last month told Aroostook County Superior Court Justice E. Allen Hunter Tuesday afternoon that he has no money to pay for an attorney.

After noting that the court would arrange for court appointed counsel for Thayne Ormsby, 20, Hunter ordered him held without bail until a hearing next week to determine if bail should be set.

Ormsby made his initial appearance in Aroostook County Superior Court in Caribou by closed-circuit video from the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton just a day after his return from New Hampshire, where he was arrested on July 2 on a fugitive from justice charge. He appeared on camera with Jeff Pickering, a Houlton attor-ney who was appointed to represent Ormsby for Tuesday’s hearing only.

Ormsby is facing three counts of murder in the deaths of Jeffrey Ryan, 55, his son Jesse, 10, and Jason Dehahn, 30, a friend and neighbor, in Amity. 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 the murder charges 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.

On Tuesday, Ormsby sat in an orange jail uniform and answered “yes, sir” or “no, sir” to questions posed by Hunter about his assets and if he understood the proceedings. Aroostook County District Attorney Neale Adams was present in the Caribou courtroom.

Hunter cautioned Ormsby not to enter a plea during the hearings and advised him that anything he said could be used against him.

Hunter read the indictments against Ormsby and the 20-year-old appeared to read along as he sat next to Pickering. One noticeable change was that the indictments reflect that the alleged murders took place “on or about June 22,” not June 23 as originally stated by police. The bodies of the three victims were discovered just be-fore 9:30 p.m. June 23 and police originally said that the killings occurred in the early morning hours of that day. A neighbor of Jeffrey Ryan told police that when he left his home at 7:30 a.m. June 23, Jeffrey Ryan’s pickup was in the yard. When he returned at 10 a.m., he said, the truck was gone.

The three were last seen alive at 6 p.m. June 22, according to the affidavit.

Adams said that police were still fitting pieces of the crime together and had not completed their interviews with Ormsby at the time that the affidavit was drafted, which he said explained the change in date.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, Ormsby told Hunter that he has no assets to hire a lawyer to defend himself and had already completed paperwork to request a court-appointed attorney. Hunter told Ormsby that a hearing would be scheduled in five days to decide whether or not to set bail. He ordered him held without bail until the hearing and said that he would appoint an attorney for him before then.

Adams said that he found it likely that Ormsby’s court-appointed attorney would ask that the bail hearing be continued until a later date.

Ormsby will be arraigned at 1 p.m. July 21 in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton .

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