Robert Craig, 86, strangled his friend of four years, Leo Corriveau, six years ago in Presque Isle.
In this Sept. 12, 2017, file photo, Robert Craig, right, wearing headphones to better hear court proceedings, awaits sentencing for the murder of Leo Corriveau in Aroostook County Superior Court. Credit: Jen Lynds / BDN

A Florida man who was convicted of murdering an 86-year-old Presque Isle man more than six years ago has died in a state prison.

Robert Craig, 86, died about 6:45 a.m. Sunday at Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston, according to Anna Black, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Corrections.

The Maine attorney general’s office and medical examiner’s office have been notified of Craig’s death, as is standard procedure.

Craig, who was from Clearwater, Florida, was convicted of strangling 86-year-old Leo Corriveau, his friend of four years.

During his jury trial, Craig testified that he acted in self-defense after the two of them got into a fight over Corriveau allegedly reneging on a deal to finance Craig’s travel from Maine back to his home state.

Corriveau, who wintered in Florida, had driven Craig to his Presque Isle home on July 12, 2016, according to a Maine State Police affidavit.

Craig testified that he was “afraid for his life” and had no choice but to kill Corriveau when they got into a fight outside Corriveau’s home on July 21, 2016. He testified that Corriveau struck him first, knocked him down and then sat on his chest to constrict his breathing. Craig told jurors that he has chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and asthma and could not breathe, so he put his hands around the victim’s neck and “squeezed the life right out of him.”

Jurors ultimately found him guilty in July 2017 of murder, and Craig was sentenced to 33 years in prison in September of that year.

In handing down his sentence, Aroostook County Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart II said he believed the murder stemmed from an argument that spun out of control, but did not believe that Craig was truly remorseful or had accepted enough responsibility for it.

Craig was not eligible for release at the earliest from the state correctional system until Jan. 19, 2045, according to the Department of Corrections.