Court rejects Dobbins’ appeal in hammer killing

4 years ago

PORTLAND, Maine — A Houlton man convicted in a brutal 2015 murder has lost his appeal to Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court.

Reginald Dobbins Jr. is serving a 65-year prison sentence for the March 1, 2015, murder of Keith Suitter of Houlton. Dobbins appealed that decision in November 2018, contending that Aroostook County Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart II improperly excluded from jurors his friend’s guilty plea to killing the man.

Samuel Geary, a Houlton resident who was 16 years old at the time of his arrest, received a 40-year-sentence in connection with the murder in 2017 after he pleaded guilty to the same crime.

Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court rejected Dobbins’ appeal on Tuesday, July 23, stating, “Although the court’s exclusion of Geary’s guilty plea constituted an abuse of discretion, the error was harmless. Moreover, the sentence imposed upon Dobbins was not constitutionally flawed.”  

Law enforcement described the brutal murder as a drug-related killing. A knife believed to have been used in the killing was found in Dobbins’ home by police.

Dobbins’ attorneys also contended that the sentence their client received was “unconstitutional” because it “condemns Dobbins to die in prison for a crime that happened when he was just 18 years old,” the court document states.

“We are unpersuaded by the remainder of Dobbins’ arguments and affirm the judgment,” the court decision states.