AUGUSTA — A New York man has been arrested on two counts of murder in connection with the shooting deaths of an Augusta couple on Christmas Day, Maine State Police announced Tuesday.

David W. Marble Jr., 29, of Rochester, New York, was arrested after Augusta police stopped a car in which he was a passenger near Memorial Circle in Augusta, according to police. He has been charged with two counts of murder related to the shooting deaths of Eric Williams, 35, and Bonnie Royer, 26, who were found dead by police responding to a 911 call one of them made at 3:30 a.m. Dec. 25. The couple was in a sport utility vehicle on Sanford Road in Manchester, not far from where they lived on Easy Street in north Augusta.

Detectives said the shootings were drug-related. Marble recently was living in an apartment at 28 Sewall St.

The arrest came after a joint investigation conducted by state police, the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Marble’s first court appearance is likely to take place Wednesday or Thursday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

Marble was arrested in June 2010 in Rochester and charged with beating and robbing a man in that city. According to records from New York state, he was sentenced to prison on a conviction for robbery, third degree, and was released on probation in May 2011.

Marble’s nickname on his Facebook page is “Dee Money.” A post from Tuesday, apparently by Marble, says, “This was a good Christmas after all everybody got to present this year and I was not in locked up.” Another of his posts, from Monday, says, “Forgive me GOD FOR I HAVE SIN. Spiritus Sancti.”

Within minutes of Marble’s arrest, relatives of the dead couple began posting comments on his Facebook page.

Williams and Royer were boyfriend and girlfriend, said Royer’s father, Paul Mansir Jr., of Whitefield.

A longtime neighbor of Eric Williams said the relationship was relatively new and that before that, Williams had been in a relationship with a different woman for years. Both the Chevrolet Trailblazer in which he died and a Buick Century were registered in the names of Williams and his former girlfriend. He also owned a Harley-Davidson motorcycle featured prominently on his Facebook page.

Williams and Royer lived at 18 Easy St., a home owned by Williams’ parents, Jeff and Susan Williams, of Augusta and Winthrop. Reached by phone Tuesday, Susan Williams said she did not want to comment now.

Ralph Sargent, whose backyard adjoins that of Williams’ Easy Street home, watched Eric Williams grow up. Sargent, 80, referred to him as “Little Eric” — in contrast to Sargent’s own grandson “Big Eric,” born about two months earlier.

“The kid was never any problem here in the neighborhood, always very polite,” Sargent said. “I’ve got no complaints.”

When Sargent talked to “Little Eric,” the conversation revolved around hunting, fishing, gardening and the deer that would get fat on the beans.

“Eric had a little raised-bed garden,” Sargent said. “He grew cucumbers, corn, peas and tomatoes.”

Sargent said Williams went to the Gilbert Elementary, Buker Middle and Cony High schools with Sargent’s grandchildren.

Sargent was told about the tragedy by Jeff Williams, who called that morning to say Eric had been shot and killed.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Sargent said. “I just lost it. What a nice kid he was, and the family. It hit hard.”

Sargent also said he had seen Royer outside at Williams’ home a couple of times in recent months.

“From my back porch, I could throw a rock onto their back porch,” he said.

Funeral arrangements for Williams include visitation 10-11 a.m. Saturday at Plummer Funeral Home, on Pleasant Street in Augusta, with a service to follow at the same location at 11 a.m.

Funeral arrangements are not set yet for Royer, according to Vicky Beloin, who has been acting as spokeswoman for the Royer family, although she said Tuesday she expected they would be made in the next day or two.

In the meantime, a memorial vigil is planned for the couple from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday outside their Augusta home.

People are being asked to meet and park near Summerhaven and Sanford roads and walk to the house.

“They don’t want people parking on Easy Street,” Beloin said.

Beloin, who is the girlfriend of Royer’s father, set up a gofundme site to raise money for Royer’s funeral expenses. By Tuesday, it had reached $1,300. The goal is $5,000.

Beloin previously had issued a statement on behalf of Royer’s family, saying, “We are beside ourselves during this difficult time. You can never prepare for the death of your child. Bonnie is an amazing soul with such a big heart.”

Beloin declined to say anything further Tuesday except that Mansir was “doing as good as any parent can after losing a child.”

She declined to answer any other questions, saying, “I really don’t want to say anything else at this time.”

Earlier this week Mansir said he had spoken with his daughter last on the night of Dec. 21, telling her that he loved her before hanging up.

He also said Royer’s daughter, McKenzie, 6, is living with her father in Cumberland County.

Police initially had asked for the public’s help in determining the whereabouts of the couple on Christmas Eve and were provided with a number of tips.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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