The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday unanimously upheld the convictions and life sentences imposed on the man convicted of killing a man and a woman by locking them into a box truck and setting it ablaze in Bangor nearly three years ago.
John De St. Croix, 27, of Bangor is incarcerated at the Maine State Prison in Warren. A jury found him guilty in March 2019 of two counts of murder and one count of arson in the deaths of Michael Bridges, 43, and Desiree York, 36, who were sleeping in the back of a box truck the night of March 28, 2018. The truck, owned by Dunnett appliance store, was parked at the Penobscot Plaza shopping center on Washington Street when De St. Croix set it on fire.
In imposing the life sentence, Superior Court Justice Ann Murray called the crimes “vicious.” One important factor she considered was that De St. Croix did nothing to help Bridges and York when he heard them crying out for help, she said.
“The defendant stood by while that screaming was happening,” Murray said. “They were screaming for their lives and the defendant stood by and let this series of events continue to progress. The fire was becoming this inferno and he made no effort to stop it.”
The state’s high court found that Murray was justified in sentencing De St. Croix to life in prison because the crimes were premeditated and the victims’ suffering during the fire was extremely cruel.
Those are two of several criteria judges may use to impose life sentences.