AUGUSTA — Roland L. Cummings will spend life in prison for stabbing a 92-year-old Waterville man to death as he slept in his bed.

The sentence was imposed Thursday at the Capital Area Judicial Center, where Cummings, 46, of Waterville, spent six days on trial in November before a jury convicted him of murder, burglary and theft, all offenses connected to the slaying of Aurele Fecteau on May 20, 2014.

Justice Michaela Murphy said she concluded the factors were present to warrant the imposition of a life sentence without the possibility of parole or release.

“This murder was an utterly unprovoked attack on a 92-year-old man who was sleeping, who could not defend himself, get away or call out for help,” Murphy said. “The court expressly finds that this is exactly the kind of factor or factors that society would recognize as deserving of the ultimate penal sanction.”

Fifteen relatives and friends of Fecteau watched the sentencing hearing. Many of them had been there through the trial as well.

“We are beyond thrilled,” said Lorraine Fecteau, one of Aurele Fecteau’s daughters-in-law, following the imposition of the life sentence they requested.

She also issued a statement on behalf of the family members and friends watching the sentencing, saying, “Our God is a God of mercy, but he is also a God of justice. Justice is what we sought in this courtroom today, and justice is what we got. We thank Judge Murphy for her sentence of life without parole for the heinous act committed against a defenseless 92-year-old man while he lay in his bed.”

The defense team of Darrick Banda and Ronald Bourget recommended a sentence of 30 years in prison for the murder. A conviction for murder in Maine carries a minimum sentence of 25 years.

In a memo prepared in advance of the sentencing, the attorneys said Cummings had begun to turn from a life of suboxone abuse and partying and intended to seek a job and to spend more time with his family. They said Cummings was consistently compliant with investigators in this case and had no criminal record of violence.

At one point on a police audio recording that was played for jurors, Cummings agrees to supply a DNA sample, saying, “I have nothing to hide.”

At trial, a forensic scientist testified that Cummings’ DNA was found on the out-turned pockets of three pairs of Fecteau’s trousers that were found in a heap on the floor by Fecteau’s body.

Cummings pleaded not guilty to the charges and did not testify in his own defense.

The state, through Assistant Attorneys General Leane Zainea and Donald Macomber, had sought a sentence of 55 years, saying in a sentencing memo that Fecteau “suffered multiple injuries that involved extreme savagery” and that the crime was the “ultimate act of elder abuse.” After the killing, Cummings stole some of Fecteau’s valuables, the prosecution said.

They also asked for $4,500 restitution for the Victims Compensation Fund, which paid for a portion of Fecteau’s funeral expenses. Murphy did not award restitution.

The attorneys said that once Cummings had stabbed through the door to get into Fecteau’s home and stabbed the elderly man 16 times, Cummings ransacked the bedroom and took two rings.

“The reason, the motive for Aurele’s death was, from the state’s perspective, for pecuniary gain,” Zainea argued Thursday. She said he wanted valuables to procure illegal drugs.

She said Fecteau “died alone and terrified in his own home.”

Zainea said Cummings was on probation for a burglary and theft when he committed the murder.

Prior to the sentencing, the judge rejected a defense motion for a new trial. She also said she had requested arguments from the attorneys on whether a life sentence could be imposed in this case. Zainea also said the court could impose a life sentence if the judge determined the manner in which Fecteau died involved extreme cruelty and that the murder was accompanied by pecuniary gain.

The state said Cummings should get 10 years of imprisonment for the burglary and five years for the theft, but did not request consecutive sentences, leaving that up to the judge. Murphy imposed a 10-year sentence for the burglary conviction and a two-year sentence on the theft conviction and made them concurrent with the life sentence.

At Thursday’s hearing, Ernest Fecteau, Aurele Fecteau’s oldest son, told the judge he never expected to find his father so brutally murdered in his bed.

Fecteau asked that the judge sentence Cummings — sometimes called Snoopy — to life in prison without parole.

“Snoopy chose a life of crime, and that lifestyle has finally caught up with him,” Ernest Fecteau said.

Family members, including grandchildren, frequently referred to Aurele Fecteau as “Pepere” and talked of his vegetable garden, the family camp and his work history.

Ann Bucknam talked of her father’s macular degeneration, which limited his eyesight, and of his hiring Cummings to do some work around the house because her father felt sorry for him.

“I pray that Roland Cummings is never set free to harm anyone else,” Bucknam said.

“How can I tell my children and grandchildren that they are safe in their own home?” her husband, Scott Bucknam, asked the judge.

Diane White, another of Aurele Fecteau’s daughters, said Cummings tried to implicate her brother David in the crime by calling him the next day. She, too, requested that Cummings get a life sentence.

Bourget argued against the imposition of a sentence of life imprisonment, saying there were issues about whether the crime was among the most heinous.

Cummings, who was in a dark green jail uniform with “Kennebec County” printed in large white letters on the back of the shirt, did not speak to the judge at the sentencing hearing.

The defense attorneys previously indicated they would file an appeal, and the judge told Cummings his attorneys would advise him of his appeal rights.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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