FARMINGTON, Maine — In a packed courtroom Thursday, a Franklin County justice sentenced three men to 15 to 20 years in prison for robbing and kidnapping a couple in a Halloween crime spree last year.
Three of the victims, including the husband and wife who were held at gunpoint and knifepoint the evening of Oct. 31, 2011, told about their ordeals before sentencing Kevin Crandall, Michael Kidd Jr. and Marcus Thompson.
Dennis and Karen Collins, who moved here from California about a decade ago, said they were home when a knock sounded on a door they don’t usually use. Being Halloween, Dennis Collins said he believed it was trick-or-treaters.
He opened the deadbolt on the door and looked outside to see three men wearing ski masks crouched down and the one in front with a gun in his hand, Collins said.
Collins, a Vietnam War veteran who was shot in the back of the head, had his eardrums blown out and a heart condition related to Agent Orange, said he tried to slam the door but was pushed over as the three rushed in.
One held him at gunpoint while the other two went upstairs and found his loaded handguns. The leader, later identified as Crandall, held a knife toward his wife. They kept asking the couple where a safe was, Collins said. Even though he told them he didn’t have one they kept threatening to kill them if they didn’t show them where one was.
The Collinses, who are in their 60s, were threatened at least six times by the three gunmen, Dennis Collins said.
The men took more than $1,000 worth of cash from an American Legion event and his wife’s wallet, and oxycodone and jewelry.
Crandall told him that he drove by each day and if he saw a cop at the house, he would be back to kill them, Collins said.
“I believed him,” he said.
Two of the armed men forced Collins to drive to two ATMs, he said, while Crandall stayed with the wife.
“I had no idea what was going to happen,” Collins said, referring to not being able to protect his wife.
Once he was driven back to the house, he was allowed to go in and the men left. The couple talked all night about what to do before they decided to call the police chief’s wife, he said.
Collins, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, said he still worries. The couple sleeps in shifts to guard their house, he said. They don’t go out at night and their friends call before coming to visit, even during the day.
The couple asked that the men be imprisoned for as long as possible. Karen Collins said she worries about when the men are released.
Susan Jones, whose house was broken into by Crandall, Kidd and Thompson, said her daughters came home from school and could smell cigarette smoke. One saw that a bedroom had been ransacked and boot marks were on the beds and ashes on the floor, she said.
The girls left the house and called their mother at work.
“My house was still warm,” Jones said, when she arrived home. She believes the offenders were still there when her daughters arrived home.
One of her daughters still wakes the family up at night, thinking that someone is breaking in, she said.
Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced Crandall, 28, of Wilton to 20 years each on one robbery and two kidnapping charges, to be served concurrently. He was also sentenced to five years concurrent on a violation of condition of release charge, eight years all suspended on two felony counts of theft, and four years probation after he is released from prison.
Kidd, 21, of Chesterville and Thompson, 27, of Farmington were sentenced to 15 years each on one count of robbery and two counts of kidnapping, to run concurrently. Kidd was also sentenced to eight years, all suspended, on three felony counts of burglary and four years of probation. Thompson was sentenced to eight years in prison, all suspended, and four years probation on three felony counts of theft. The theft and burglary sentences will begin after they are released from prison.
All three were ordered to pay $6,090 in restitution to the victims through the state.
Assistant District Attorney James Andrews asked for a sentence of 25 years with all but 20 years suspended and four years probation for each of the men.
Defense attorneys Luann Calgagni, Christopher Dilworth and Christopher Berry argued for sentences of between 18 to 20 years with all but eight to 10 years suspended. They said the men had minimal to no criminal records and could be rehabilitated. They also said there were substance abuse problems and gave accounts of their best qualities and improvements they have made while in jail.
Relatives and friends apologized to the victims. They spoke in support of the men, acknowledging that they needed to be punished. All three defendants have children.
Thompson, Crandall and Kidd apologized to the Collinses and the other victims for traumatizing them. They said they were sorry for their actions and said it never should have happened.