BY ERIC RUSSELL

Portland Press Herald

A convicted rapist and registered sex offender who confessed to killing his former roommate, also a sex offender, shortly before he took his own life was under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a young girl late last year.

Bruce King, 59, also known as Bruce Neal, had been scheduled to meet with a detective March 11 to discuss the allegations. That was the same day he killed himself inside a U-Haul truck that was pulled over on Interstate 95 near Lincoln.

Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Thursday that King was first interviewed by police in January about the sexual assault allegation. He told investigators that it was his former roommate, Lawrence Lewis, 68, who had assaulted the girl. The allegations were never substantiated.

Lewis’ body was found inside his rundown home on U.S. Route 2 in Molunkus around the same time King killed himself on the interstate after a four-hour standoff with police. Before he took his own life, however, King told Penobscot County Sheriff Deputy Patty McLaughlin that he had killed Lewis by forcing him to overdose on prescription medication. Medical examiners conducted an autopsy on Lewis last week but did not release a cause of death because tests are still being done. It’s not clear how King forced Lewis to take the medication.

McCausland said last week, when the investigation into the men’s deaths first began, that the case would be drawn-out and complicated. Affidavits filed this week in Lincoln and Houlton district courts, coupled with new information shared by police, gave more details.

McCausland said police also have been looking into as-yet unsubstantiated claims connected to King and Lewis. If any of those claims are substantiated, McCausland said, the case could be complicated further. He would not elaborate on what those claims might be.

The incident started March 11 when police stopped a U-Haul truck being driven by a woman, traveling south on I-95. When the truck was stopped, the woman, later identified as Lynda Fogg, also known as Lynda Dube and Lynda Gordon, 43, of Mattawakeag, got out of the truck and told police that King, who was in the passenger seat, had been holding a gun on her.

Deputy McLaughlin tried talking to King by cellphone. During that conversation, King confessed to killing Lewis, his former roommate. He told McLaughlin that he had killed Lewis because Lewis was molesting children and nobody was doing anything about it, according to a police affidavit.

The affidavit also says that a man identified as Mark Vieira told police that King told him he had found pictures and videos of Lewis engaged in sexual acts with children. The affidavit does not say how Vieria knew King. McCausland said he did not know what their relationship was.

Lewis was convicted in 1992 of raping a 9-year-old boy and served several years in prison but had not been suspected in any sex crimes since, McCausland said. He also said police have not found evidence supporting what King told Vieria.

Among the items recovered during police searches of Lewis’ home and the truck were a laptop computer found in the truck. The affidavit does not say whose computer it was, but McCausland said investigators would search it to see if it contained any evidence of sexual abuse.

King was convicted of rape and is listed as a registered sex offender in Massachusetts. Maine State Police did not have information about the crime King was convicted of, but the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board’s website lists a Bruce King convicted of rape in 1985.

He was registered as a Level 3 sex offender, which is defined as “these individuals have a high risk to reoffend and that the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a substantial public safety interest is served by active community notification.”

Carrie Kimball-Monahan, of the Essex County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts, said she could not immediately provide details about King’s conviction.

Maine police are still trying to figure out how long King has been in Maine.

“We think it’s been a few years, and one assumption is that he came here to hide,” McCausland said.

King was not on Maine’s sex offender registry, even though he was required to notify authorities within 24 hours of moving here. He also is in violation of the Massachusetts sex offender registry law, which requires offenders to verify their residency in person at least once a year.

Police have said King had been living with Lewis since last year. Fogg had recently moved into the house as well. King and Fogg were a couple and had gotten married on March 1.

The police affidavit indicates that Lewis asked the couple to leave at some point. They had been staying at two area motels in the days leading up to the men’s deaths.

Police received a missing-person complaint from Lewis’ son, David Lewis, the day Lewis’ body was found. The younger Lewis had last spoken to his father on March 7 and during that conversation, the elder Lewis told him he was worried that “a hit” had been placed on him because he was a sex offender.

David Lewis tried calling his father for several days without success, so he went to the house to look for him. The son did not find his father inside but did find two dogs. When he came back two days later, the dogs were also gone.

During that time, King and Lewis were staying at the River’s Edge Motel in Medway. Employees there have said the couple acted strangely during their stay and insisted on absolute privacy. The couple also stayed one night at another Medway motel, the Gateway Inn. Employees there said King and Lewis had two dogs with them.

King and Lewis left the Gateway Inn that Monday, when police already were starting to investigate Lewis’ disappearance. The affidavit indicates that police showed up at the motel around the same time the couple was leaving. Fogg told police that when King saw a police car, he “started to freak out.” She said he held a gun to her head and told her to drive or he would kill her.

Fogg also told police that King had said in the past that he planned to kill Lewis. She said she knew he was an unregistered sex offender.

King and Lewis both have lengthy criminal histories dating back decades.

It does not appear that the two men ever were incarcerated in Maine at the same time, and it’s not known how they met. Department of Corrections Spokesman Scott Fish said according to available records, Lewis served time from July 1997 to October 2002, while King was in prison from April 2003 to September 2006.