AUGUSTA — Ricky Allen Lane said Wednesday that an opiate drug addiction led him to take part in a dozen crimes in nine days, including an armed home invasion in Manchester.
Lane, 25, of Augusta, also robbed two Augusta convenience stores and held one clerk at knifepoint, burglarized two homes in Augusta and one in Winthrop, and broke twice into the headquarters of Al’s Taxi, all between Aug. 28 and Sept. 6. He pleaded guilty to those charges Wednesday at a hearing in Kennebec County Superior Court.
“I fell into drugs really hard in a matter of months,” Lane told the judge. “I did things I didn’t think I was capable of doing. I want to apologize to everybody I hurt.”
Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced Lane to 20 years in prison, with all but eight years suspended, and four years of probation. Lane had faced maximum penalties of 30 years in prison on each of the three robberies.
“Have no illusions; this is a 20-year sentence,” Murphy told him, adding that he is responsible for doing everything possible to get his life back on track when he is released and repay victims.
She ordered him to pay $21,115 restitution. Co-defendants in some of Lane’s crimes were also ordered to pay toward restitution.
Lane’s statements about drug addiction followed presentations by two victims.
Priscilla Young, of Winthrop, talked about how Lane and her former son-in-law, Michael Ruth, burglarized her home Sept. 2 and stole jewelry she had bought over the years as an investment for her retirement as well as heirlooms that had sentimental value.
“He took my 3-foot armoire full of jewelry,” she said. “I’ll be 69 next month and I’m still working hard.”
Miles Cloutier, owner of Al’s Taxi in Augusta, where Lane’s break-ins netted $118, told the judge that 10 years was too much initial prison time for Lane. That sentiment was also echoed by his daughter, Heather Cloutier, who had two children with Lane.
Heather Cloutier said Lane had worked hard to support her and the children and that she didn’t believe what police told her about Lane’s crimes until he admitted to her he had done them.
In April 1998, when Lane was 11, another boy shot him in the eye with a BB gun and Lane lost the eye. Heather Cloutier said after the hearing that Lane was teased by other boys because of the injury, and his reaction to it resulted in his juvenile record.
Lane was the fourth and final person to be sentenced in connection with the Manchester home invasion, which Murphy described as the most serious offense.
“It’s a question of whether Ricky would have gone to this level with his opiate addiction” without his involvement with the other co-defendents, McKee said, in his bid to get Lane the same sentence as Ruth.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Rucha, who sought a 10-year initial period of jail time, said Lane had been incarcerated at a juvenile facility for aggravated assault and burglary as well as some misdemeanors.
He listed Lane’s criminal history, beginning with the juvenile offenses in 2003 and ending with a June 2010 sentence for assault that put Lane on probation, which ended shortly before the 13 crimes occurred.
“With regard to Mr. Lane, it basically hasn’t stopped,” he told Murphy.
Rucha argued that Lane should spend more time in prison initially than Ruth.
“Mr. Ruth, for about 10 years, cleaned up his act and was good,” Rucha said. “Then he started hanging out with Lane and he got back into drugs.”
The other participant in the home invasion, Ben Pilsbury, was the getaway driver and did not enter the house, attorneys agreed.
He also drove Lane to the convenience store robberies on Aug. 28 and Sept. 1, as well as to the Young and Pinkham homes.
“In regards to culpability and who’s involved, Mr. Lane is the common denominator in all of these,” Rucha said.
Charlotte Pinkham was asleep Sept. 5 in her Manchester home when a masked man woke her with a knife to her neck and a demand for money.
She did not attend Wednesday’s hearing. Rucha said she told the district attorney’s office she was in favor of the proposed plea agreement.
In imposing the sentences, Murphy said, “I have to try to bring some closure to this process for the court and try to reduce disparity of these sentences.”
She said she could find no justification for Lane to serve more initial prison time than Ruth, but agreed Lane should get a longer sentence than Pilsbury.
Another defendant, Mary Catherine A. Tatlock, 30, of Farmingdale, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery in the home invasion. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with all but four years suspended, and three years of probation.
Conditions of probation prohibit Lane from contact with the victims of his crimes.
Betty Adams — 621-5631