Sorrento trash hauler acquitted of threatening charge

Marc Calcia's property in Sorrento on Jan. 5, 2011. The photo is part of DEP's records on Calcia.
Photo courtesy of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Marc Calcia's property in Sorrento on Jan. 5, 2011. The photo is part of DEP's records on Calcia.
By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted March 16, 2012, at 12:48 p.m.

SORRENTO, Maine — A local farmer and trash hauler was acquitted Thursday of charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and violating conditions of release.

Marc Calcia, 46, was found not guilty of the charges by a jury at the end of a two-day trial in Hancock County Superior Court.

Calcia said Friday that he was “pleased” with the acquittal and that he never intended to threaten or intimidate his neighbor, whose complaint led to the charges.

“That’s never been my intention, to threaten anyone,” Calcia said by phone.

Calcia’s defense attorney, Charles Helfrich of Ellsworth, said Friday that the felony charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon included a lesser charge of simple criminal threatening. Calcia was acquitted of both criminal threatening charges, he said.

“Mr. Calcia is happy that justice prevailed,” Helfrich said.

Hancock County Assistant District Attorney William Entwisle, the prosecutor in the case, said Friday that not all the witnesses were available for trial and that some testified in support of Calcia’s version of events.

“I’m disappointed in the outcome, but I respect the jury’s verdict,” Entwisle said.

Entwisle said Calcia still is facing unrelated criminal counts of operating an unregistered commercial vehicle and violating a protection order, both of which are misdemeanor charges.

The felony criminal threatening charge stemmed from a July 2010 incident in which Calcia allegedly brandished a handgun and pointed it at a neighbor during a dispute over how he controls his animals, according to court documents. Sorrento’s animal control officer witnessed the incident and later told police she felt threatened as Calcia “waved the handgun in the air” as she issued him a summons for animal trespass, the documents indicate. The summons was issued after Calcia’s goats allegedly had eaten and destroyed a neighbor’s fruit trees, police said.

The charge of violating conditions of release stems from an incident in October 2010 in which Calcia’s pigs wandered onto the same neighbor’s lawn and dug up the turf. The neighbor, who had pictures and video of the pigs trespassing on his property, had obtained a protection from harassment order against Calcia and the presence of his pigs on the neighbor’s property violated that order, according to a separate affidavit.

Calcia is accused of storing garbage from his trash-collection business on his property for more than 48 hours and of improperly dumping trash on a neighboring property, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Town officials have said that neighbors claim Calcia has used the garbage to feed his animals.

A DEP official who has been heading DEP’s investigation into those complaints did not return a voice mail message left Friday at his office. A DEP spokeswoman said Friday that Calcia’s waste hauler’s license is still active.

According to state officials, the environmental allegations against Calcia have been referred to the state Attorney General’s office for possible civil enforcement action.

Sorrento town officials took the Calcia family to court last fall to get them to clean up their Fuller Road property, which the town said violated state junkyard and automobile graveyard restrictions. On Feb. 29, Calcia’s wife, who owns the property with her mother, was ordered in Ellsworth District Court to pay a $600 fine by the end of May.

In his decision, Judge Bruce Mallonee wrote “the property was cleaned up substantially” last fall. But for it to comply with state and local regulations, he added, “all junk” must be cleaned up from the yard, all unregistered and uninspected motor vehicles have to be removed or stored inside, and all unpermitted structures either must be permitted or removed. The unpermitted structures cited by the judge are an old truck used for storage and a “blue tarp structure” used to shelter pigs.

In addition to the environmental and permitting allegations, Calcia is facing

civil animal cruelty and animal trespassing charges in Ellsworth District Court.

Calcia said Friday that the civil animal charges are still pending and that he plans to continue contesting those charges.

“I just try to make a living and sometimes people misunderstand me, that’s all,” he said.

The civil claims against Calcia are similar to others he has faced in Massachusetts, where he was accused of animal cruelty and accumulating trash on his property in the late 1990s, and in Pittsfield, Maine, where neighbors complained in late 1999 that Calcia’s animals frequently wandered onto adjacent properties. Calcia moved in 1999 from Princeton, Mass., to Pittsfield.

In 2006, the towns of Palmyra and Carmel each fired Calcia as its trash collector after residents complained of poor and inconsistent service.

Calcia’s criminal record in Maine includes two misdemeanor reckless conduct convictions stemming from a 2002 incident in Pittsfield in which he was accused of firing a gun at his brother-in-law.

Calcia has received positive attention in Maine, however. In 2009, after he moved to Sorrento, he and others set out to help find work for a homeless man who had been forcibly removed from a makeshift camp the homeless man had built for himself in the woods of Corinna. The homeless man was a former employee of Calcia’s, according to newspaper reports.

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/03/16/news/hancock/sorrento-trash-hauler-acquitted-of-threatening-charge/ printed on December 19, 2014