HOULTON, Maine — During a hearing that lasted less than three minutes on Friday, the 17-year old charged with murder in the death of a 61-year-old Houlton man last year pleaded not guilty.
Samuel Geary, who was 16 when he allegedly was involved in the killing of Keith Suitter, entered the plea in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton before Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart II.
One of his attorneys, Alan Harding of Presque Isle, was present during the hearing. Geary also is being represented by Krispen Culbertson of North Carolina.
Stewart said that a trial judge has not yet been scheduled to hear the case.
Geary and Reginald Dobbins Jr., who was 18 when Suitter was killed, are accused of stabbing and brutally beating the victim to death with a hammer on March 1, 2015, in Suitter’s mobile home in Houlton.
Dobbins pleaded not guilty to the charge in June and is being held without bail at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton.
Geary is being held in a state juvenile facility. He had hoped to be tried as a juvenile for the crime, but in a 15-page ruling released on April 29, Judge Bernard O’Mara wrote that the state had shown probable cause to believe that murder had been committed and that “Geary, together with another, had committed the crime.” O’Mara also said that the juvenile had failed to establish “by a preponderance of the evidence” during the bind-over hearing that it was not appropriate to prosecute him as an adult.
That opened the door for the case to be presented to the Aroostook County grand jury, which indicted the teen on May 6.
The medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Suitter testified on the first day of Geary’s bind-over hearing on April 12 that the victim suffered 21 blunt-force trauma blows, mostly to the head, which appeared to have been inflicted by a hammer, and 10 stab wounds to the head and back.
Geary also testified during that hearing about the night of the killing, blaming much of what happened on Dobbins and stating that he was pressured to participate.
Geary testified that he did not know Suitter, but that after a day of drinking and using drugs, he and Dobbins went to Suitter’s home to buy drugs. After Dobbins had gotten into the home using the ruse that his vehicle had broken down, Geary alleged, Dobbins pulled a hammer out of his jacket and began striking him.
Geary then testified that Dobbins told him to “stab the guy” with a knife that Dobbins had given him earlier that day because he knew Geary collected knives.
Geary testified he “tried to stab him” but the knife didn’t open all the way, and he instead cut himself, which angered Dobbins. Dobbins then took the knife and stabbed the victim, according to Geary.
Culbertson maintained during the hearing that the murder was a “drug-related robbery.”