BANGOR, Maine — The Penobscot County district attorney’s office last month dismissed charges against two high-profile defendants — one of whom was charged in connection with a July Fourth standoff downtown — after both were charged in U.S. District Court.
Perrin Q. Oliver, 44, of Bangor was charged Sept. 20 in federal court with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He originally was charged at the Penobscot Judicial Center with felony reckless conduct with a firearm, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Perrin is accused of firing 70 rounds of ammunition in his apartment and through his window.
In an unrelated case, one count each of gross sexual assault, a Class A felony, and sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B crime, were dismissed last month against an Englishman accused of coming to Maine to have sex with a 13-year-old girl he met online. Nicholas Cheese, 26, of Oxford, England, was charged Sept. 27 in U.S. District Court with production of pornography.
Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, said Tuesday that turning a case over to federal prosecutors is not unusual.
“We often discuss potential charges and potential penalties with the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Roberts said. “When there is an overlap of the types of charges that can be brought, we look out for what the best outcome for disposition might be.”
Potential sentences for Oliver and Cheese are more severe in federal court, the state prosecutor said.
“The most serious charge we would have arising from the July 4 shooting was reckless conduct, a Class C felony, with a maximum sentence of five years in prison,” Roberts said. “Because of his criminal history, the defendant faces a longer sentence under the federal sentencing guidelines.”
Oliver faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted on the federal charge. The maximum penalty for a Class C felony is five years in state prison and a fine of up $5,000.
Cheese faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years if convicted in federal court of taking pictures of his sexual activity with the girl. There is no mandatory minimum sentence on the charge in state court. If convicted of gross sexual assault, the most serious charge, he would have faced a maximum of 30 years in state prison.
Roberts said Tuesday that he was satisfied the U.S. Attorney’s Office would represent the interests of the victim in itscase.
“We would not want to put the victim through two sets of hearings unless there was something to be gained at sentencing,” he said.
A secondary factor is the cost of prosecution and incarceration, Roberts said. Since state charges have been dismissed, those costs will be borne by the federal government.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the cases. It is the practice of federal prosecutors not to comment on cases until they have been resolved.
Oliver and Cheese both have agreed to be held without bail pending the outcomes of their cases. The men have not been asked to enter pleas to the charges because they have not yet been indicted by a federal grand jury.