With Ormsby convicted of Amity murders, Robert Strout faces sentencing

Robert Strout
Courtesy of Aroostook County Jail
Robert Strout
Posted April 22, 2012, at 9:19 a.m.
Thayne Ormsby
Thayne Ormsby

HOULTON, Maine — Now that the state has secured a conviction against the 22-year-old who murdered three people in Amity almost two years ago, another man charged in connection with the crimes will be sentenced.

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes, who helped convict Thayne Ormsby on three counts of murder and one count of arson, said after the April 19 judgment was rendered that his office will be in court next month for the sentencing of 64-year-old Robert Strout of Orient.

“That is going to be our next step,” he said outside Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton.

Stokes and Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson spent close to two weeks presenting two separate cases against Ormsby before Justice E. Allen Hunter. Ormsby was convicted on April 13 in the June 22, 2010, stabbing deaths of Jeffrey Ryan, 55, Ryan’s son Jesse, 10, and Ryan family friend Jason Dehahn, 30, all of Amity. The victims were found dead about 27 hours after the killings at the elder Ryan’s home on U.S. Route 1, according to police. Ormsby also was found guilty of arson for burning Jeff Ryan’s truck after he stole it from the murder scene.

Because Ormsby also pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges, a second phase of the trial focused on his state of mind at the time of the crimes. and. He was found criminally responsible for the deaths last week.

Ormsby will be sentenced in June and is facing 25 years to life in prison on each murder charge and a maximum of 30 years on the arson charge. He remains in the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton, where he has spent nearly two years.

Strout also was charged in connection with the triple homicides and then arrested again in August 2011 on a drug offense.

The first arrest came in September 2010 when Strout was charged with hindering apprehension and arson for his role in helping Ormsby conceal evidence in the murder investigation.

In the weeks before the killings, Ormsby lived a short distance from the crime scene at the home of Strout and his wife, Joy Strout.

The 64-year-old told police in July 2010 that a bloodied Ormsby came to his home after the slayings and threatened to kill his family if he did not transport him to Weston to burn his bloody clothes and also to set Ryan’s truck ablaze. Strout also drove Ormsby to a bog where he disposed of the murder weapon.

Two days later, Strout drove Ormsby to his son’s home in New Hampshire, where he was arrested.

Ormsby has denied that he threatened Robert Strout.

Strout initially pleaded not guilty to charges connected to the slayings and was out on bail when he was arrested by officers with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in August 2011 and charged with aggravated furnishing of scheduled drugs and violation of bail.

Darrell Crandall, MDEA division commander, said that Strout gave his 24-year-old grandson Craig Strout-Desmond and Strout-Desmond’s girlfriend, Brianna Bonness, 24, both of Ellsworth, 170 tablets of the prescription painkiller oxycodone after the two came to his Orient home on Aug. 3. Acting on a tip, agents conducted a traffic stop and the drugs were found in a baggy in a console of the car. They were valued at about $3,400.

Strout, who said in court that he is disabled, refilled his prescription for 180 pills each month and then gave them to his grandson, according to Crandall. Agents developed evidence that Strout had furnished more than 150 tablets of oxycodone to Strout-Desmond on at least five separate occasions. The charge was aggravated because the amount of the drug furnished by Strout totaled about 8,000 milligrams.

Strout-Desmond and Bonness both were charged with trafficking in oxycodone and Bonness also was charged with possession of drugs and violation of conditions of release.

Robert Strout was offered a plea deal by the state in October 2011 in exchange for his testimony against Ormsby, but he ultimately was not called to the stand.

Under the agreement, Strout will serve a minimum of two years and faces up to four years in prison on all the charges.

He already has pleaded guilty to the four charges, but his sentencing was deferred until after Ormsby’s trial.

Strout has a prior criminal history, according to information revealed during a background check. He spent three months in jail on a felony charge of taking a motor vehicle without consent of the owner in 1966 and paid fines for interfering with an officer and disorderly conduct in the 1970s. Strout also was convicted of a number of hunting violations between 1986 and 2002, including trespassing, criminal trespassing, shooting from a motor vehicle or boat, discharging a firearm near a dwelling, hunting in a public way, reckless hunting, illegal possession of deer and littering. The violations were lodged in Hancock County.

Stokes said that he believes that Strout will be sentenced near the end of May, but the exact date was not immediately available.

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