BAR HARBOR, Maine — A local man was ordered to serve six months behind bars on Thursday after pleading guilty in Hancock County Superior Court to charges he stole firearms from a local inn last December.

William Thurston, 19, was given an overall sentence of four and a half years with all but six months suspended. Justice Ann Murray also ordered Thurston to serve three years of probation upon his release, not to use or possess any alcohol, drugs or firearms, and to receive substance abuse evaluation and treatment. The sentence was imposed after Thurston’s defense attorney, Matthew Foster of Ellsworth, and the Hancock County District Attorney Carletta “Dee” Bassano reached an agreement on what their recommendation would be.

Thurston was accused of stealing three firearms during a morning burglary on Dec. 15 at the Castlemaine Inn on Holland Avenue. The inn owner discovered Thurston inside the inn and, after Thurston fled, gave a description to police and then identified the defendant from a collection of police photos. Thurston was arrested later that same day.

According to Bassano, Thurston also stole firearms from a relative, which he then sold in order to buy drugs. The theft from the relative was reported to police the same day Thurston stole guns from the Castlemaine, she said, but she was not sure exactly when the relative’s firearms were taken.

Thurston confessed to both thefts and police were able to recover all the firearms, according to Bassano.

Thurston also pleaded guilty Thursday to unrelated charges of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs and violating bail. For those convictions, he was ordered to serve five days concurrent with his six-month jail term and to pay a $400 fine.

Thurston has no prior adult criminal record, Bassano told the judge.

Murray asked Thurston during the proceeding if he would be able to abide by the terms of his probation for the full three years after he is released. She said she wanted to be sure that Thurston had a reasonable chance of complying with her order.

After Thurston assured her he would stay out of trouble, she accepted the recommended sentence.

“There’s a lot of time hanging over your head,” the judge said. “[But] it seems like this is a fair opportunity for you.”

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....