CARIBOU, Maine — A Houlton teenager has pleaded guilty to a murder charge in connection with the killing of a 61-year-old Houlton man in his home in 2015.
Samuel Geary, 17, entered the guilty plea in Washington County Superior Court in Machias on May 25, a clerk at the Caribou Superior Court in Aroostook County said Friday. No sentencing date has been scheduled.
Additional details about the plea or information about any agreement that might have been reached between the prosecutor and defense attorney were not immediately available. Efforts to contact Assistant Maine Attorney General John Alsop, who is prosecuting the case, and Geary’s defense attorney, Luke Rioux of Portland, were not successful Friday.
Geary and Reginald Dobbins Jr., who was 18 when Keith Suitter was killed, are accused of stabbing and brutally beating the victim to death with a hammer on March 1, 2015, in Suitter’s mobile home.
Dobbins pleaded not guilty to the charge in June 2015 and is being held without bail at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton. Jury selection in his trial is scheduled to begin on June 1 in Houlton.
Geary is being held in a state juvenile facility. He had hoped to be tried as a juvenile for the crime, but in a 15-page ruling released after a bind-over hearing in April 2016, District Court Judge Bernard O’Mara wrote that the state had shown probable cause to believe that murder had been committed and that “Geary, together with another, had committed the crime.” O’Mara also said that the juvenile had failed to establish “by a preponderance of the evidence” during the bind-over hearing that it was not appropriate to prosecute him as an adult.
The medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Suitter testified on the first day of Geary’s bind-over hearing that the victim suffered 21 blunt-force trauma blows, mostly to the head, which appeared to have been inflicted by a hammer, and 10 stab wounds to the head and back.
Geary also testified during that hearing about the night of the killing, blaming much of what happened on Dobbins and stating that he was pressured to participate.
Geary testified that he did not know Suitter, but that after a day of drinking and using drugs, he and Dobbins went to Suitter’s home to buy drugs. After Dobbins had gotten into the home using the ruse that his vehicle had broken down, Geary alleged, Dobbins pulled a hammer out of his jacket and began striking him.
Geary then testified that Dobbins told him to “stab the guy” with a knife that Dobbins had given him earlier that day because he knew Geary collected knives.
Geary testified he “tried to stab him” but the knife didn’t open all the way, and he instead cut himself, which angered Dobbins. Dobbins then took the knife and stabbed the victim, according to Geary.
An attorney for the teen maintained during the hearing that the murder happened as part of a “drug-related robbery.”