STATEWIDE – The year 2019 was busy for law enforcement who dealt with a number of murders, baby drug overdoses and drug trafficking, a deadly explosion and the tragic death of one of their own.
Among the most talked-about murder trials was that of John Williams, 31, of Madison. He’ll never be free again after killing Somerset County Sheriff’s Cpl. Eugene Cole in cold blood on June 25, 2018, while Cole was on patrol in Norridgewock. Williams was under the influence of drugs at the time.
“When you mix a life-long criminal lifestyle with drugs – you can end up going anywhere,” said Lisa Marchese, Deputy Attorney General who prosecuted the case with Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea. “And in this case, John Williams traded his freedom for the execution of Corporal Cole.”
The trial of a Waldo County couple instigated an investigation of Maine’s Child Protective Services.
Sharon and Julio Carrillo were tried for murder in the death of her 10-year-old daughter, Marissa Kennedy. The 76-pound girl had more than 40 visible injuries and died after months of daily beatings. A Department of Health and Human Services-hired social worker visited the home 48 hours before her death.
Julio was sentenced to 55 years earlier this year and Sharon will be sentenced after the new year.
“Julio Carrillo is going to die in prison for what he did to Marissa Kennedy,” said Assistant Attorney General Don Macomber after Sharon Carrillo was convicted of murder. “And it’s our full intention to seek a life sentence for Sharon Carrillo.”
The 2017 murder of a Wiscasset toddler also fueled the DHHS investigation. Shawna Gatto, the girlfriend of the toddler’s grandfather, was sentenced in June to 50 years for her death.
Bangor area courtrooms saw several murder trials.
North Carolina resident Christopher Murray, 39, in February was found guilty of murder in the shooting death of Wayne Lapierre, a Millinocket businessman. He also was guilty of elevated aggravated assault for shooting Lapierre’s wife, who testified against him, and burglary for stealing cash, jewelry and marijuana.
John De St. Croix of Bangor was convicted in March of setting fire to a van parked under the Penobscot Bridge.
That fire killed two homeless people sleeping inside, Michael “Georgia” Bridges, 43, and Desiree York, 36.
“Desiree and Michael can rest in peace now,” Mark Bridges, the older brother of Michael Bridges, said after De St. Croix was convicted. De St. Croix is awaiting sentencing.
F “Frank” Daly was convicted in September of shooting Israel “Izzy” Lewis, 51, of Bangor on Jan. 7, 2018, in Lewis’ boarding room on Second Street. He’s awaiting sentencing.
Jalique Keene, 22, of Bar Harbor was sentenced to 58 years in September for the brutal beating death and rape of his 19-year-old friend, Mikaela Conley.
In October, a jury convicted Hampden resident Philip Clark, 56, in the shooting death of his sister-in-law, Renee Clark.
We learned in November that Jessee Mackin of Millinocket got 5½ years in the death of his former girlfriend’s 6-month-old son, Larry Lord, who died of a skull fracture.
Drug arrests have also been big news, none bigger than a string of arrests in Down East Maine that netted 27 accused of dealing drugs.
In Castine, the former CEO of Cianbro is facing three charges after police say he shot a cannon that injured another man at a Maine Maritime Academy homecoming game.
Justin Chipman, one of two men accused in the brutal death of a Winter Harbor dog named Franky, was tried and convicted. The search continues for co-defendant Nathan Burke.
And two moms and a dad from Bangor faced charges for drug overdoses involving their children.
Two tragedies also occurred for those who serve their communities in uniform.
A firefighter was killed and six others were injured in a massive gas explosion in Farmington during September. And Maine State Police Detective Ben Campbell was killed when hit by a rolling tire on Interstate 95 in Hampden.
“To me, you didn’t just become a hero on April 3rd. You were my hero the first day I met you,” his wife, Hilary Campbell said at his funeral.
Those charged with murder this year include a Morrill man charged with shooting his rival in a love triangle; a Bucksport woman who is charged in the death of her former boyfriend’s 2-year-old daughter; a Clifton man and a Waterville man who reportedly shot their longtime girlfriends; and two men from Old Town and Veazie charged in the death of a Bangor man.
In addition, a New Jersey man was charged with three counts of manslaughter in connection to the fatal rollover accident that killed his three friends at Acadia National Park over Labor Day weekend.