AUGUSTA — An Augusta couple on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges stemming from the November killing of a city man.

Zina Marie Fritze, 27, and Michael Sean McQuade, 45, are charged with the murder of 31-year-old Joseph Marceau inside the couple’s Washington Street apartment. Fritze and McQuade, in separate arraignments at the Capital Judicial Center, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, felony murder and robbery in what police said Monday was a drug-related crime.

Indictments against the pair, which were handed up Friday by a grand jury in Kennebec County, were sealed until Monday.

Justice Daniel Billings ordered Fritze and McQuade held without bail. Both waived bail hearings until a later date.

Fritze and McQuade are the second and third people charged in the killing of Marceau. Damik Davis, 25, of Queens, New York, was arrested on Nov. 23, 2015, the day police found Marceau’s body on the fourth floor of the apartment building. Davis, like Fritze and McQuade, was indicted on charges of murder, felony murder and robbery, and he is being held without bail in the Kennebec County jail.

A conviction for murder carries a minimum penalty of 25 years in prison without the possibility of release or parole. The felony murder charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years, stems from the belief that the murder was committed during the act of a robbery.

Fritze and McQuade were arrested Friday on alleged probation violations. Each was told of the indictments on Monday, just before making initial appearances via video on the probation violation charges.

Marceau’s family members, flanked by representatives of Parents of Murdered Children who were there to offer support, gathered on one side of the courtroom for Tuesday’s arraignments.

The hearings, separated by about 20 minutes, took less than 10 minutes each.

Fritze, arraigned during the first hearing, shuffled into the courtroom moments before the hearing, the brushing of her leg chains breaking the silence. Portions of her shoulder-blade tattoos were visible despite her orange jail jump suit. Fritze, thin, her hair cut short, looked around the courtroom pensively, then rested her head on her folded arms on the table in front of her while awaiting the hearing.

Represented by Darrick Banda and Henry Beck, she spoke little during the arraignment.

“Not guilty, sir,” Fritze answered when Billings asked for her plea.

Billings began the hearing by addressing a concern created by Beck’s mother, a superior court justice who occasionally works in Kennebec County. Billings said the situation had the appearance of a conflict of interest. Fritze said she had been told about the connection and agreed to continue as Beck’s client.

“The court’s view of this is that there is not actually any conflict,” Billings said.

McQuade, also thin and wearing a jail jump suit, arrived in the courtroom a few moments before his hearing. Taking a seat at the table, McQuade turned nervously in his chair before turning all the way around to survey the room, in the process making eye contact with Marceau’s family. McQuade turned back toward the bench, rested his elbow on the chair’s handle and gently stroked his neatly bearded chin with his fingers.

McQuade, like Fritze, waived the reading of the complaint against him.

“Not guilty,” he said when Billings asked for his plea.

McQuade, represented during the hearing by Andrew Dawson, waived a bail hearing until an attorney is assigned to his case permanently.

Documents in the case against Davis were sealed by a judge at the state’s request, so there is no explanation yet from authorities of how Marceau was killed.

Marceau lived in an apartment on Winthrop Street about a mile from where his body was discovered. Neighbors in the Washington Street apartment building said they heard a series of thuds from the apartment occupied by McQuade and Fritze, and records indicate the two were being evicted from their apartment.

The only charges available earlier Monday against Fritze indicated she was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of misuse of identification. Attorney William Baghdoyan, who was appointed to represent her on those charges, said she was set for a hearing on March 22. Baghdoyan, however, said Monday that he no longer represents defendants on murder charges.

A judge signed a warrant on Jan. 15 for Fritze’s arrest after the state sought to revoke Fritze’s pre-conviction bail on an allegation that she was involved in a number of car burglaries.

McQuade also had been out on bail as well, on one count of burglary, six counts of burglary of a motor vehicle and seven counts of theft. According to a series of summonses issued by Augusta police, the vehicles were burglarized on River, Washington and Water streets as well as Julianne Lane and Northern Avenue from Nov. 6 to 11, 2015.

McQuade later was charged with theft by deception for apparently taking merchandise from Kmart and from Target and attempting to return it to get cash.

Police had questioned Fritze and McQuade two days after Marceau’s body was found, but released them without charges.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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