Aroostook County man assaulted in Millinocket

Posted July 23, 2010, at 8:42 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:54 a.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — Local police are investigating a savage beating from last weekend that left a young man with serious injuries and two men facing charges of aggravated assault.

A 21-year-old native of St. Francis suffered broken bones in his face and a broken leg during the assault in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 18, according to Sgt. Jerry Cox of the Millinocket Police Department.

The victim was released from a local hospital Friday morning but faces a long recovery, the sergeant said.

Craig Cullen, 24, and Joshua Emerson, 28, both of Millinocket, have been charged with aggravated assault, a Class B felony, and Cox said he expects to charge two others once his investigation is complete.

“It’s still an ongoing investigation and we’re following leads to find the two other suspects, but we hope to find and charge everyone who is involved,” Cox said.

According to police, the victim and Cullen got into a fight initially around 1 a.m. July 18 after two adjacent bars closed.

“A group of people were talking about an after-party at a hotel [the victim] was staying at, and it escalated from there,” Cox said.

The victim landed a punch that knocked Cullen unconscious, according to Cox. Cullen was taken to a local hospital and the crowd dispersed. About two hours later, Cullen was released from the hospital and drove with Emerson and two others to the hotel where the victim was staying.

“This was a clear case of retaliation,” Cox said. “They had the chance to think about what happened and cool down. They planned this out.”

Once they confronted the St. Francis man at the Katahdin Inn, the four men ganged up on him and at one point, pool sticks were used to assault the victim, according to Cox. A cousin of the victim called police as the assault occurred, but by the time officers arrived, the suspects had fled.

The victim was taken to Millinocket Regional Hospital shortly after the assault and wasn’t released until Friday. The victim did not know his assailants, but Cox said he was able to provide descriptions that led to the arrests of Cullen and Emerson.

The victim will not be charged, said Cox, because Cullen indicated he did not want to press charges.

“He said he would take care of it himself,” Cox said.

Yvon Labbe, director of the Franco-American Centre at the University of Maine, said in an e-mail sent to police and media members that he believed the assault was a hate crime directed at the victim, who is of French-Canadian descent.

Cox, however, said there is nothing to indicate that what happened was a hate crime.

“Investigations take time and I’m sure some people were frustrated that we didn’t immediately arrest anybody,” the sergeant said.

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