Suspect connected to drug, triple homicide case unable to make bail

Robert Strout
Robert Strout
Posted Aug. 10, 2011, at 8:39 p.m.
Brianna Bonness
Brianna Bonness
Craig Strout-Desmond
Craig Strout-Desmond

ORIENT, Maine — An Orient man arrested last week on drug charges less than a year after he was charged in connection with a triple homicide in Amity remains in a Houlton jail, unable to make bail.

Robert Strout, 64, was arrested last Thursday at his Orient home by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and charged with aggravated furnishing of oxycodone and violation of conditions of release. Since the case involves a felony charge, it must be approved by the Aroostook County grand jury before it moves forward. The grand jury meets later this month, Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins confirmed Wednesday.

Also charged were Craig Strout-Desmond, 24, and Brianna Bonness, 24, both of Ellsworth. Strout-Desmond, who is the grandson of Robert Strout, was arrested and charged with trafficking in oxycodone. Bonness was not arrested but summoned and charged with possession of drugs and violation of conditions of release related to a previous charge of attempted burglary.

Strout-Desmond has since been released on bail from Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth where he had been taken.

Darrell Crandall, MDEA division commander, said at the time of the arrest that agents had been conducting a lengthy surveillance operation in northern Maine.

Strout appeared before a judge last Friday and bail was set at $50,000 surety or $10,000 cash, according to Aroostook County Jail officials. If he makes bail, he must adhere to a Maine Pretrial Services Contract, which mandates conditions such as requiring the defendant to abstain from using drugs and alcohol or committing new crimes.

The trio was charged after Strout-Desmond and Bonness allegedly drove from Ellsworth to Strout’s home in Orient to buy drugs. Police said MDEA agents stopped Strout-Desmond and Bonness as they returned to Ellsworth and seized 170 tablets of the prescription painkiller oxycodone from a plastic bag in the center console of the vehicle. The drugs are valued at about $3,400.

Strout was arrested the next day. Agents developed evidence that Strout had furnished more than 150 tablets of oxycodone to Strout-Desmond on at least five separate occasions, police reported.

Strout also was arrested last September and charged with hindering apprehension and arson for his alleged role in helping conceal evidence in a triple homicide investigation in the Aroostook County town of Amity. Strout reportedly helped the alleged killer in the case, Thayne Ormsby, 21, of Ellsworth, conceal evidence and burn the vehicle of one of the victims.

Police say that Strout admitted helping to conceal evidence in the killings. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges. He made bail on those charges shortly after his arrest and returned to his Orient home, which is less than a mile from the Amity crime scene.

Strout is being held at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton, where Ormsby also remains pending resolution of his case.

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