The Star-Herald

Easton man pleads not guilty to murder in death of stepfather

HOULTON, MaineAn Easton man accused of killing his 79-year-old stepfather has pleaded not guilty to murder.

James Peaslee, 37, appeared for his arraignment on the charge in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton Thursday before Justice Harold Stewart II.

Peaslee, who was indicted by the Aroostook County grand jury on Feb. 8, was represented Thursday by defense Attorneys Stephen Smith and John Tebbetts. Assistant Attorney General John Alsop represented the state.

Peaslee is charged with murder and using a firearm to intentionally or knowingly cause the death of Paul Hilenski of Bridgewater. Police have released little information about the Jan. 17 incident, and the affidavit has been impounded.

The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call about 6 p.m. on Jan. 17 from Hilenski’s Boundary Line Road home in Bridgewater, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.

Police did not indicate what led them to Peaslee, but arrested him at about 1 a.m. the following day as he was driving on the West Ridge Road in Easton.

Peaslee has a lengthy criminal record in Maine dating back to an assault in 1998, according to the state’s Bureau of Identification. While specifics about incidents are not included in the 35-page criminal record provided by the bureau, it shows that Peaslee has been convicted of multiple crimes in the last two decades, including criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, assault, terrorizing, unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs, refusing to submit to arrest, violating bail conditions, and violating conditions of probation.

The attorneys will hold a status conference in two months to determine next steps in the case.

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