AUGUSTA, Maine – The man who committed suicide after telling police that he had killed a convicted sex offender was himself a sex offender in Massachusetts who might have been trying to draw attention away from himself, state police said Thursday.
Bruce King, aka Bruce Heal, was convicted of rape on May 10, 1985, according to the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board. He apparently had been living in Maine illegally and knew he had been named a suspect in a sex offense complaint filed in the name of a young Maine girl in January when he accused Lawrence Lewis of having committed a sex offense, said Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.
“The allegations involving Lewis from King and against King himself — neither one of those allegations have been verified,” McCausland said Thursday, “but a complaint had come forward from a young girl that King had molested her and King denied it and pointed the finger at Lewis.”
“One assumption that we have is that King may have come to Maine to hide,” McCausland added.
McCausland, who said Maine State Police had “just confirmed” King’s sex offender listing in Massachusetts earlier Thursday morning, added that King’s wife of 10 days, Lynda Dube, told police that King told her that he was an unregistered sex offender.
Thursday morning’s revelations came amid the ongoing state police investigation of the death of Lewis, 68, of Molunkus Township.
“There are a number of questions that we still have to find answers to,” McCausland said, adding that “no additional victims have come forward” to claim being assaulted by King or Lewis.
King told Penobscot County Sheriff’s Deputy Patty McLaughlin on March 11 that he had killed Lewis, his former housemate, by forcing him to swallow two bottles of Lewis’ prescribed nitroglycerin and one bottle of “psych meds,” according to a search warrant affidavit released Wednesday at Lincoln District Court.
“King told Deputy McLaughlin that he killed Lawrence Lewis. King said he had reported Lewis for molesting children and no one was doing anything,” the affidavit states.
King then shot himself with a .30-30 rifle that had been given to him by Dube, who had divorced William Fogg. Fogg’s father said that Fogg told him that he had given her the rifle.
Before his death, King complained to Dube that he had reported Lewis for some form of sexual offense and had told another man, Marc Vieira, “of videos and pictures depicting Lawrence engaged in sexual acts with minors at Lewis’ home,” according to the affidavit.
Vieira said Thursday that Dube told him of seeing Lewis “burning a bunch of [pictures depicting the sexual acts] …throwing pictures in the wood stove and saying ‘God, please forgive me.’ Bruce mentioned that, too.”
State police found no evidence at Lewis’ home backing that allegation, McCausland said.
Vieira said he was surprised to hear that King, whom he knew as Bruce Heal, had a criminal past. A neighbor of Lewis, Vieira met King about six months ago, shortly after King started living with Dube, and until about two months ago King was a twice- or thrice-daily visitor to the Vieira home, he said.
Vieira said King did odd jobs for him — cutting firewood and grass — in exchange for money. Vieira described himself as totally disabled due to diabetes and other ailments. King would sometimes bring pastries over for Vieira and Vieira’s girlfriend, he said.
“He was a good guy. The story he gave me, of course, was a lot different from the truth,” Vieira said Thursday. “I just looked at him as a guy down on his luck.”
Lewis’ history was no mystery, Vieira said. The 68-year-old Lewis was on the state’s sex offender registry for life after having been convicted in 1996 of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy who lived in the same household, according to Bangor Daily News archives.
State police found Lewis’ body in his Macwahoc Road residence the evening of March 11.
Lewis’ son David told police that his father told him on March 7, the last time David Lewis heard from his father, that his father feared that a hit had been put out on him because word had gotten around that he was a sex offender.
Neighbors of Lewis have said that Lewis’ criminal background was well-known to them. They and workers at a general store near his house said that Lewis was known to hang out with others who were sex offenders in a crowd that kept largely to itself.
“Larry was a poor thing. He couldn’t take care of himself over there. He was just old,” said Vieira, who described himself as a distant acquaintance of Lewis. “He couldn’t fill the wood stove to keep the heat going in there. Bruce would load up the stove for Larry. He always made sure he took care of Larry.”
But King wasn’t fond of living with Lewis, said Vieira, who sympathized with his friend’s predicament.
“When you got no place to go, what else can you do? It is what it is,” Vieira said.
The alleged young victim of King reported the allegation to the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office in January, McCausland said. The department interviewed King and it was then, McCausland said, that “King pointed the finger at Lewis.”
On the day of King’s suicide, Dube told police that the couple was leaving a Medway motel when King saw a police officer ― apparently investigating the disappearance of Lewis ― and pointed the rifle at her. He ordered her to drive and said he would kill her if she didn’t comply, the affidavit states.
Motel workers have said that Dube showed no signs of being held hostage during her stay at the motel, being seen with King frequently but not saying anything to anyone. One man said that Dube exited the vehicle they were in and berated King when he struck up a conversation outside a local gas station.
Dube and King arrived at the motel on March 1 and acted like the newlyweds they were, happy and enjoying champagne. By the end of their second stay at the hotel, over the weekend of March 9, they had appeared worried and had kept to themselves, motel workers said.
King, Lewis and Dube had been roommates for several months at Lewis’ home in Molunkus Township. King and Dube had moved out at Lewis’ request three or four weeks ago, state police have said.
The allegation against King was referred to the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of Health and Human Services tendered appropriate aid to the young girl, McCausland said. He declined to provide details of the allegation.
The Massachusetts offender registry lists King as a Level 3 Sex Offender, someone deemed “to have a high risk to reoffend and that the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a substantial public safety interest is served by active community notification.” Details of his crime were not available on the registry.
The listing also describes King as being “in violation,” apparently for leaving Massachusetts without permission. It was unclear when he left.
These are among many questions state police hope to answer before the end of what McCausland has warned will be a lengthy and very complex investigation.
Of prime interest, McCausland has said, is whether the Maine medical examiner’s office can determine whether Lewis died the way King said he did. That examination is ongoing and might take months to resolve, McCausland said.
“We are seeking the answers, all of which will take time to gather,” McCausland said.
Dube, who McCausland has said has cooperated with investigators, has declined to comment, as have members of Lewis’ family and William Fogg, who lives in Mattawamkeag.
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.