Bangor man charged with murder in Fourth Street death

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted June 16, 2011, at 2:30 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Fourth Street man with a long and violent criminal history — including a May 5 arrest for assaulting a Bangor police officer — was arrested Thursday and charged with murder in the June 9 death of local resident Melvin F. Abreu, 28.

William L. Hall, 29, told police last week that he strangled Abreu and then threw him out of his second story window at 96 Fourth St., according to court documents.

“Hall said that he had ‘choked the [expletive]’ out of Abreu and then threw him out the window,” an affidavit written by Bangor police Detective Joel Nadeau states.

It was the fall from Hall’s upstairs window that killed Abreu, according to an autopsy conducted by Dr. Michael Ferenc, a forensic pathologist at the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta.

“Abreu had sustained extensive lethal injuries to his head, neck and upper chest areas,” the affidavit states. He also had “definite evidence of asphyxia injuries consistent with manual strangulation.”

Police listed Abreu’s address as 179 Indiana Ave., the location of the Hope House, a shelter for people struggling with drugs and alcohol. A student at the nearby University of Maine at Augusta, Bangor Campus, verified that Abreu was attending school there. He was in his second year of college, according to a post on his Twitter account, listed under “cnote122.” According to a Facebook page created in his memory by Abreu’s family  titled “Melvin Abreu RIP,” Abreu was originally from Bronx, N.Y. where he attended St. Raymond Academy high school.

A 911 hang-up call was made at 5:05 a.m. June 9 by a male reporting that someone had been injured at 96 Fourth St., Apartment 7, which is Hall’s apartment. When emergency personnel arrived, they found Abreu dead in the circular driveway behind the apartment building. His body was near a Dumpster. There was a jagged trail of blood leading from the body to an area below Hall’s window, where police found a pool of blood and a bloody T-shirt, believed to be Abreu’s.

An eyewitness to the strangulation — who told the Bangor Daily News last week that the fight that led to Abreu’s death was over religion — informed police that a verbal argument escalated into a physical fight that forced him to separate the two, the affidavit states. The police document makes no mention of why the fight started.

Family members listed the Bible as Abreu’s favorite book on the memorial Facebook page.

Phillip McCue told police that 15 minutes after the first fight, a second fight began between Hall and Abreu and ended with Hall strangling Abreu “by straddling him and using both knees and hands around Abreu’s neck,” the document says.

McCue said another man in the apartment, Anthony Barone, 20, “yelled to Hall that, ‘He’s not breathing, he’s not breathing’ and Hall answered Barone, ‘Don’t worry about it’ and continued to strangle Abreu to the point that he became unconscious.”

At this point McCue said he left the apartment with a woman. He said the couple returned a short time later to find Hall and Barone near the Dumpster out behind the building with Abreu, who appeared injured and bleeding.

When interviewed by detectives, Barone described Hall as “[expletive] crazy” and said he “watched as Hall picked up Abreu and dropped him out the second story apartment window.”

Neighbors told police they heard a loud argument in the minutes before rescue crews arrived.

Rhonda Levesque, a downstairs neighbor of Hall, told police that around 4:30 a.m. she heard an argument and fighting from the upstairs apartment, including someone using a racial epithet. Shortly afterward, she heard footsteps of people running down the stairs, the affidavit states.

“She looked out the window and saw two individuals known to her as Will and Tony, dragging an unconscious male out back,” the document says.

Levesque said in an interview with the Bangor Daily News on Thursday that Hall never returned home after police took him away on June 9.

“I’m just hoping he doesn’t come back,” she said while smoking a cigarette out on her stoop.

Crystal Stevens, who also lives in the building, said Thursday at the scene that both Hall and Barone had blood on them when they were interviewed by police on the morning Abreu’s body was found.

Hall has been at the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor since last week for a mental evaluation and was returned to the facility Thursday afternoon after he was arrested, booked into jail and had his first court appearance, Sgt. Paul Edwards said.

“He’s going back there until they complete the psychiatric evaluation,” he said. “After that, he will be taken to Penobscot County Jail” to await his trial.

Hall has three assault convictions and a disorderly conduct conviction that date back to 2000, according to his criminal history record from the Maine State Bureau of Identification. He also was arrested in December 2009 for disorderly conduct and has four arrests listed for violating his conditions of release, one from May 27, the report states.

Hall also was arrested on May 5 by Bangor police for felony assault on a police officer, assault and refusing to submit to arrest, his criminal record shows. Details about the May 5 incident were not available Thursday.

Levesque said she has lived on Fourth Street for about four years and Hall moved in about five or six months ago. She said he did illegal drugs and drank alcohol “on a daily basis.”

“He constantly brought people off the street up there to party,” she said, adding that on more than one occasion she had to go upstairs and tell him to quiet down. “The only thing I want to hear is that he is going away.”

According to the Facebook page, a viewing is scheduled for 2-9 p.m. Friday at Ortiz Funeral Home in Bronx, N.Y., and a burial is planned Saturday at Maple Grove cemetery in Hackensack, New Jersey.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/06/16/news/bangor/bangor-man-charged-with-murder-in-fourth-street-death/ printed on July 31, 2014