AUGUSTA — Two of the three men charged in connection with the beating death of an Augusta resident in 2015 are expected to enter guilty pleas within the next 30 days, according to a prosecutor in the case.
Attorneys for all three men attended a private in-chambers conference Monday at the Capital Judicial Center with Justice Daniel Billings, who has been specially assigned to the case.
After the conference, one of the prosecutors, Assistant Attorney General John Alsop, said discussions were underway with defense attorneys for Damik Davis, 27, of New York and Michael Sean McQuade, 46, of Augusta and that he anticipated guilty pleas forthcoming from those two.
The third defendant, Aubrey N. Armstrong, 28, of New York, was the only one present in the courtroom at the Capital Judicial Center on Monday and that was only for a few minutes.
However, there was no public proceeding, and the judge did not come into the courtroom. Armstrong recently refused to identify himself during his arraignment before a different judge.
All of the men have pleaded not guilty to identical charges: intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder, felony murder and robbery, all related to the Nov. 23, 2015, death of Joseph Marceau, 31, in an Augusta apartment where McQuade and his girlfriend, Zina Marie Fritze, 27, had been living. Authorities have said it was a drug-related homicide.
A day after pleading not guilty to the charges, Fritze hanged herself with a bed sheet in her cell at the Kennebec County jail. Her older sister later said Fritze was scared and suffering withdrawal from Suboxone, which had helped her deal with her addiction.
Billings on Monday indicated through the clerk he would put a scheduling order on the record. The case was originally set to go to trial this November.
Armstrong’s attorney, Brad Grant, said he anticipated asking for a postponement on behalf of his client because Armstrong was arraigned on the charge July 21. He has been serving a sentence in New York.
“We need to see if we can be prepared by November,” Grant said after Monday’s hearing. “Since he just got here, the likelihood of it is remote.”
Attorney Andrew Wright, who represents McQuade, and attorneys Stephen Smith and Caleb Gannon, who represent Davis, left immediately after the in-chambers conference and weren’t available for comment.
Around 8 p.m. Nov. 23, 2015, neighbors reported a disturbance in a fourth-floor apartment at 75 Washington St. Marceau was beaten to death, and no knives or firearms were involved. Police have not released any other details about what they think happened the night he died.
Augusta police and a Maine State Police dog searched the neighborhood, and Davis was arrested a short time later. Armstrong, who police have said goes by the street name “Butta,” was not identified publicly as a suspect until February 2016, and initially Armstrong fought extradition back to Maine.
Marceau, who had lived earlier in Gardiner, lived at the time of the crime about a mile away in an apartment on Winthrop Street.