Newport pharmacy robber gets nearly 3 ½ years in prison; accomplice he married in jail to be sentenced Wednesday

Posted Sept. 24, 2013, at 7:01 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 24, 2013, at 9:46 p.m.
Jonah Masse
PENOBSCOT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Jonah Masse
Sydney Duff
PENOBSCOT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Sydney Duff

BANGOR, Maine — A Dixmont man who twice robbed the Rite Aid pharmacy in Newport in 2012 and married his accomplice earlier this month while in jail was sentenced Tuesday to three years and five months behind bars for the crimes.

Jonah Masse, 26, of Dixmont pleaded guilty in March to charges that he and his then girlfriend, Sydney Duff, 21, a Canadian citizen living in Dixmont, robbed the pharmacy at the corner of Routes 2, 7 and 11 in Newport on Aug. 16, 2012 and again a month later on Sept. 16.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of pharmacy robbery and Duff pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting both robberies.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Masse to 41 months in prison and three years of supervised release after his prison sentence ends. Woodcock also ordered that Masse and Duff, who were married Sept. 18 while incarcerated at Somerset County Jail, pay $1,777 in restitution.

Duff is scheduled to be sentenced by Woodcock on Wednesday.

In each robbery, Masse went into the store and handed the pharmacist a note stating he had a gun and wanted oxycodone and hydromorphone pills while Duff waited in the getaway car.

Masse apologized in court to his parents, Deborah and Shawn Masse, who sat in the front row of the courtroom; his new wife, the pharmacists, the community and taxpayers. He thanked several people, including Woodcock, who have helped him since his arrest.

“In 2010, I turned to prescription pills to dull the pain,” he said. Masse added later, “that is not who I am. If this experience has taught me anything it’s that I am a good man. I had no faith in myself. Now, I am the happiest I have ever been. For the first time, I am allowing myself to look forward.”

Masse’s attorney Terence Harrigan of Bangor said at the beginning of the sentencing hearing that his client “doesn’t make any excuses” for his actions.

“He’s extraordinarily remorseful and is aware of the impact on the victims and his family,” Harrigan said.

Woodcock was kind but stern in his sentencing, saying he gave Masse a sentence at the bottom of the federal sentencing guidelines, but one that would send a message to others considering the crime that was rampant in Maine during 2012.

He told Masse, “Your life up to the age of 26 has been wasted” and his actions in 2012 “had a profound impact on the poor people at Rite Aid.”

The first robbery in August 2012 was a nightmare, and “it was a recurring nightmare when you returned and robbed them in September,” Woodcock said.

The U.S. District judge also told Masse that he’s not sure how he will sentence his new wife of a week.

“She’s a Canadian citizen, and it may mean she’s deported,” Woodcock said of Duff.

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