February 24, 2020
State Latest News | Child Welfare System | Bangor Metro | Kevin Hancock | Today's Paper

22 people died in homicides in Maine in 2019, including six during a 5-day stretch in March

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Marie Giorgi and Sandra Reed talk about their friend Kary Dill on Jan. 16, 2019, outside the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor. Dill was one of 22 Maine homicide victims in 2019. The 35-year-old was shot to death inside her Clifton home. Dwight Osgood Jr., her long-term boyfriend, is charged with murder.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.

Twenty-two people died in homicides in Maine in 2019, including six during a five-day stretch in March, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. That is four more homicide victims than in 2018 and one more than 2017’s tally.

None of the deaths last year rattled Mainers and evoked strong emotions throughout the state as did the 2018 slayings of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy in February and Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. Eugene Cole. But the slaying of a black Muslim man by the brother of his girlfriend drew national attention as Portland’s Somali community expressed frustration and disappointment over the lack of information provided by Portland police about the shooting death of Isahak Muse, 22.

Maine has averaged 22 homicides a year over the last decade.

In recent years, the highest number of homicides occurred in 2008, when 31 Maine residents were killed. That year, five of the victims were children under the age of 3.

Ten of the 22 deaths in 2019, or slightly less than half, were classified as domestic violence-related. In 2018, nine, or half the homicides, involved domestic violence.

The state characterizes a case as a domestic violence homicide when a family member kills another family member or intimate partner.

Police are still searching for the alleged perpetrators in two homicides.

Here are the homicides of 2019 and the dates and the towns where they occurred.

Oxford County Jail | AP
Oxford County Jail | AP
Mark Penley

Jan. 1, Paris

Heather Bickford and Dana Hill, both 31, were shot to death inside a downtown apartment. Mark Penley, Bickford’s former boyfriend, is charged with two counts of murder. Penley, 49, of Peru is scheduled to be tried March 10 at the Oxford County Courthouse in South Paris.

Penobscot County Jail | BDN
Penobscot County Jail | BDN
Dwight Osgood Jr.

Jan. 14, Clifton

Kary Dill, 35, was shot to death inside her home. Her long-term boyfriend, Dwight Osgood Jr., 37, of Clifton is charged with murder. He is scheduled to be tried June 23 at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Sarah Richards, 37, of South Thomaston enters the courtroom with her attorney Jeremy Pratt at the Knox County Superiour Court in Rockland in February.

Feb. 21, Owls Head

Helen Carver, 83, was beaten to death inside her home. Sarah Richards, 37, of South Thomaston, whom Carver had hired to shovel snow, is charged with murder. She has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and is tentatively scheduled to be tried in August at the Knox County Court Courthouse in Rockland.

File | BDN
File | BDN
Austin McDevitt

March 15, Swanville

Shane Sauer, 26, of Belfast was shot to death outside a cabin. Austin McDevitt, 22, of Morrill is charged with murder. The two men were dating the same woman. McDevitt is set to be tried in April at the Waldo Judicial Center in Belfast.

Cumberland County Sheriff's Office | AP
Cumberland County Sheriff's Office | AP
Mark Cardilli

March 16, Portland

Isahak Muse, 22, of Portland was shot to death inside a home on Milton Street. Mark Cardilli Jr., the brother of the victim’s girlfriend, was charged with murder. Cardilli, 24, of Portland claimed he acted in self-defense. Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills on Friday found Cardilli guilty of manslaughter following a jury-waived trial at the Cumberland County Courthouse held earlier in December. Cardilli is being held without bail while awaiting sentencing. He faces between four and 30 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

Courtesy of Cumberland County Jail via WGME
Courtesy of Cumberland County Jail via WGME
Gregory Vance

March 17, Portland

Patricia Grassi, 59, was strangled inside a Cumberland Avenue apartment. Her boyfriend, Gregory Vance, 61, pleaded guilty to murder in November. His plea agreement with the Maine attorney general’s office calls for a sentence of between 25, the mandatory minimum, and 35 years. His sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 19, has been delayed. No new date was available Tuesday.

March 17, Presque Isle

Fourteen-month-old Quinten Leavitt was slain by his father, Matthew Leavitt, 35, in the family home. The father then fatally shot himself.

March 19, Old Orchard Beach

William Popplewell, 65, was beaten and stabbed to death inside his apartment. His roommate, Dustan Bentley, 30, is charged with murder. His trial is scheduled to begin June 1 at the York County Courthouse in Alfred.

March 19, Gardiner

Autumn Bryant, 44, was fatally shot by her estranged husband, Kenneth Bryant, 48, at a home in Gardiner where she had been staying. Bryant later killed himself.

May 11, Lebanon

Allison Parker, 30, was fatally shot by her long-term boyfriend, Thomas Doyon, who then fatally shot himself at their home.

July 19, Waterboro

Christal Denis, 45, was fatally shot by her husband, Christopher Denis, 45, who then fatally shot himself at their home.

Courtesy of Androscoggin County Jail
Courtesy of Androscoggin County Jail
Gage Dalphonse

July 27, Auburn

Jean Fournier, 41, of Turner was shot to death in the Walmart parking lot. Gage Dalphonse, 21, of Auburn is charged with murder. He is tentatively scheduled to be tried June 8 at the Androscoggin County Courthouse in Auburn.

Aug. 3, Portland

Rodney Cleveland, 63, was beaten in his Danforth Street apartment. He died six weeks later at a local hospital. His neighbor, Everett Meserve, 62, is charged with murder. He is set to be tried Aug. 10 at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland.

Nina Mahaleris | BDN
Nina Mahaleris | BDN
Bobby Nightingale, 38, (left) appears via video conference for his arraignment hearing in Caribou Superior Court on Oct. 16, 2019.

Aug. 12, Castle Hill

Roger Ellis, 51, and Allen Curtis, 25, both of Castle Hill were shot to death inside Ellis’ pickup on Route 227. Bobby Nightingale, 38, of Presque Isle has been charged with two counts of murder. A trial date in Aroostook County has not been set.

Aug. 31, Leeds

Nadi Hagi Mohamed, 31, formerly of Minnesota was found shot to death along a road in Leeds. Maine State Police continue to investigate his death.

Oct. 11, Richmond

Andrew Sherman, 48, was found dead inside his home. Maine State Police continue to investigate his death.

Joe Phelan | AP
Joe Phelan | AP
Nicholas Lovejoy, left, stands with his defense attorney Darak Banda during initial appearance on murder charges, Friday Oct. 25, 2019, at Capital Judicial Center in Augusta, Maine.

Oct. 22, Waterville

Melissa Sousa, 29, was shot to death inside her home. Her longtime boyfriend, Nicholas Lovejoy, 28, of Waterville is charged with murder. A trial date at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta has not been set.

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
Cote Choneska, left, and Joseph “JJ” Johnson

Nov. 1, Bangor

Firefighters located a fire in the kitchen of Berton Conley’s Essex Street home and found the 59-year-old unconscious in the smoke-filled house. Joseph Johnson, 30, of Old Town and Cote Choneska, 39, of Veazie were charged with murder Dec. 4. They have not yet been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury.

Nov. 11, Augusta

Loryn McCollett, 30, was stabbed to death inside the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, Eric Ryan, 30. Ryan then fatally shot himself.

Two Bridges Regional Jail | AP
Two Bridges Regional Jail | AP
Quinton Hanna

Dec. 15, Scarborough

James Pearson, 82, was stabbed to death in the front yard of his home. Quinton Hanna, 22, of Freeport has been charged with murder.

The deaths of Bickford, Hill, Dill, Grassi, Leavitt, Bryant, Parker, Denis, Sousa and McCollett were classified as domestic violence homicides.

 


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