Houlton Region

State drops assault charges against convicted murderer

HOULTON, Maine — The state has dropped a felony aggravated assault charge against a Houlton man convicted of murder last year, Aroostook County Assistant District Attorney Kurt Kafferlin and the attorney for the accused said Tuesday.

Reginald Dobbins, 21, was found guilty of murder in June 2017 in the beating and stabbing death of 61-year-old Keith Suitter. Prior to the homicide, Dobbins had been charged with aggravated assault stemming from a Sept. 11, 2014, incident that occurred on Court Street in Houlton.

“I was able to get it dismissed about two weeks ago,” Dobbins’ attorney, Jeffrey Pickering, said Tuesday. “There had always been a question of self-defense in that case.”

In the homicide case to which Dobbins was found guilty during a jury trial, Suitter was found dead in his manufactured home on March 1, 2015. An autopsy revealed that Suitter suffered 21 blunt-force trauma blows, consistent with having been inflicted by a hammer, according to the state medical examiner, and 10 stab wounds to the head and back.

A co-defendant in the case, Samuel Geary, 18, of Houlton, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the killing.

Dobbins was sentenced to 65 years in prison for the brutal murder after an eight day trial.

Kafferlin confirmed Tuesday that the aggravated assault charge against Dobbins had been dropped.

According to court documents, police and special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement who responded to the scene of the alleged assault nearly four years ago found several males, including a 20-year-old who allegedly had been struck in the head with a baseball bat. Several males, including Dobbins, allegedly had chased the victim over a drug deal gone bad, according to police.

Pickering said that if the case had gone to trial, the defense would have presented a witness who would have testified that she saw the alleged victim holding a knife to Dobbins’ throat.

The victim was treated at the scene by members of the Houlton Ambulance Department.

Kafferlin said that Dobbins’ sentence of 65 years was lengthy, and it would have been cost prohibitive to continue transporting him from the Maine State Prison in Warren to Aroostook County for court proceedings. If convicted of the crime, he could have faced up to ten more years in prison.

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