ELLSWORTH, Maine — Armed with pepper spray, a crowbar, a Taser, rope and a .38-caliber revolver, a man and woman went to the home of an Eastbrook man last week with the intent to rob him, according to an affidavit filed in Hancock County Superior Court.
What Beals resident Ashley Crowley, 23, and her partner, Nicholas Richards, 23, of Machias, apparently did not realize when they embarked on their mission in the early hours of Dec. 13 was that the man they allegedly chose to assault and rob also was armed with a gun.
Richards died before sunrise after being shot and killed by Brian Denoncourt, 25, the man who lived in the trailer they allegedly targeted.
According to the police affidavit in the case, which remains under investigation, Denoncourt put a loaded .357-caliber Magnum handgun in his belt after Crowley knocked on his door on Roaring Brook Road at 2 a.m. on Dec. 13.
Crowley told Denoncourt, who was watching television, that she had crashed her car nearby and needed to be towed back onto the road.
“Denoncourt stated that he immediately was suspicious as he did not hear a crash,” Maine State Police Detective Carleton Small wrote in the affidavit that was filed in court Dec. 17.
After getting some rain gear and a tow hitch and placing the handgun in his belt, Denoncourt went outside and, after closing the door behind him, allegedly was sprayed in the face by Crowley with pepper spray, according to the affidavit.
A man believed to be Richards then appeared and began striking Denoncourt in the head with some sort of metal object, the affidavit indicates.
“We have a gun and will shoot you,” Crowley allegedly told him.
“Baby, he didn’t go down,” she allegedly told her accomplice. “Shoot him, shoot him!”
Denoncourt had difficulty seeing because of the pepper spray but managed to get to his Jeep in the driveway, where he pulled his gun out of his belt and fired three to four shots at a “silhouette moving toward him,” according to the document.
“The subject then started walking up the driveway and Denoncourt immediately made his way into his residence and splashed water on his face and called 911,” the affidavit says.
Richards collapsed at the end of the driveway, where Crowley loaded him into their car and then started driving toward the hospital. She called 911 and was urged by dispatchers to pull over by the side of the road to try to revive Richards. Richards was pronounced dead after ambulance personnel found Crowley’s parked car by the side of Route 200 in Eastbrook.
Police later recovered a cell phone, a flashlight, a black ski mask and a .38-caliber revolver from outside Denoncourt’s mobile home and, during Richards’ autopsy, noted that there was an empty gun holster on Richards’ body, Small wrote in the affidavit. The detective indicated that, after initially denying it, Crowley admitted to police that she knew Richards was armed with a gun during the alleged robbery attempt.
The duo apparently had not decided at random to rob the Eastbrook man, according to police.
According to the affidavit, Crowley told police that a friend of Richards had told them about someone who sold OxyContin and had between $20,000 and $50,000 cash in a safe, but it is not clear from the affidavit that Crowley and Richards thought Denoncourt was that person.
Police say another man told them that he had told Crowley and Richards that the Roaring Brook Road resident would buy baseball cards from them for cash. The man said he wrote Denoncourt’s address on a paper plate but denied having talked to Crowley and Richards about anyone who might have drugs or large amounts of cash.
Crowley, who was arrested Dec. 17, has been charged with two counts of Class B burglary and two counts of Class A robbery in connection with the Eastbrook incident and other alleged crimes. Class B crimes each are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of $20,000 or less. Class A crimes each are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines of $50,000 or less.
“Crowley admitted [to police] that the plan was to rob [the man] of pills and money and she admitted to several other burglaries in the Blue Hill area that she committed with Richards in the days previous to this incident,” Small wrote in the document.
According to police, the night before the Eastbrook shooting Crowley and Richards had robbed an 80-year-old woman of pills and money at her home on Reach Road in Brooklin.
The woman told police she had been watching television around 11 p.m. on Dec. 11 when she walked into her kitchen and saw a man wearing a ski mask standing there and holding a small handgun.
The man and a woman who also was wearing a ski mask took $1,000 and prescription medication from the woman, who was not physically harmed during the incident, Detective Alan Brown of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department wrote in a separate affidavit. Police later found out that the woman’s phone line outside her home had been cut and her car keys apparently also had been taken, Brown wrote.
Crowley and Richards also are believed to have been involved in an attempted Dec. 9 burglary at a home on Reach Road in Sedgwick, a burglary reported Dec. 10 at the North Sedgwick Church Parsonage, and another burglary reported Dec. 12 on Hales Hill Road in Sedgwick, according to police. Brown indicates in his affida-vit that Crowley confessed to robbing the Sedgwick woman in addition to the other burglaries.
Crowley and Richards had been staying at an Ellsworth motel during the alleged crime spree, the affidavit indicates. Brown wrote in the document that police found some allegedly stolen items in the room where Crowley and Richards had been staying.
Crowley spent the weekend at Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth but was bailed out Monday morning on $25,000 surety, according to documents filed in Hancock County Superior Court.