June 20, 2018
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St. George man faces 9 years for burglary spree in Knox, Penobscot counties

Knox County Jail | BDN
Knox County Jail | BDN
Ricky Block
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 47-year-old St. George man reluctantly agreed Friday to plead guilty to 27 criminal offenses that involved a burglary spree that plagued Knox County last year.

Ricky Block pleaded guilty in Knox County Superior Court but sentencing was delayed until several other criminal charges against him can be resolved in Penobscot County Superior Court. The delay also will allow victims in Knox County to attend his sentencing hearing.

The plea hearing was delayed briefly Friday morning when Block hesitated during the middle of admitting to the string of offenses. Justice Jeffrey Hjelm repeatedly asked Block if he was certain he wanted to plead guilty.

“I’m not sure about anything. They have me over a barrel,” Block said.

Defense attorney Roger Hurley told the judge that Block was ready to plead guilty but that his client constantly second guesses himself.

“I have spent more time with him at the jail on his case than all my other cases combined during the past six months,” Hurley said.

In the end, Block said guilty 27 times as the judge read through the 27 counts.

Block admitted breaking into 10 homes last summer and fall and stealing a variety of items including guns, jewelry and television sets. His offenses were for burglary, theft, possession of a firearm by a felon, criminal mischief, violating a condition of bail and writing a bad check. The burglaries occurred in Rockland, Thomaston, Warren, St. George, South Thomaston and Cushing.

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Baroody said that the agreement reached with the defense calls for sentencing Block to nine years for the Knox County cases. The Penobscot County cases would combine for 10 years with all of that sentence suspended with him also being placed on probation for three years.

The end result of the two combined county cases would be that Block would spend nine years in prison and then be on probation for three years. If he violates probation during those three years, he would face an additional 10 years behind bars.

The sentencing deals are still subject to approval by the judges overseeing the cases in each county.

Block was originally arrested in October for a string break-ins and was freed on bail. While on bail, he was arrested for more burglaries and has been held in jail since his subsequent November arrest.

Block tried unsuccessfully earlier this year to have his $15,000 cash bail lowered so that he could be released from jail and be treated for a liver disease. He had also argued earlier this year that he did not commit the burglaries but instead led officers to recover some of the stolen items simply as an informant.

Block is one of four inmates who have been at the Knox County Jail who have filed notice that they may sue the county for up to $400,000 for violations of their civil rights, including being housed in cells that are covered with urine and feces. No lawsuit has been filed in that case.

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