AUGUSTA — A co-defendant in a drug-fueled murder case admitted he lied when he was interviewed by police two days after Joseph Marceau was found beaten to death on Nov. 23, 2015, in Augusta.

Michael Sean McQuade, 47, of Augusta, previously pleaded guilty to felony murder and robbery of Marceau and in exchange for a recommended 25-year sentence, with an initial 10 to 15 years to serve behind bars.

He spent Thursday morning being cross-examined about his testimony and his interviews on the third day of the trial of co-defendant Aubrey N. Armstrong, 29, of Far Rockaway, New York.

Armstrong is charged in the beating death of Marceau, 31, of Augusta, at a fourth-floor apartment on Washington Street. The nonjury trial is scheduled to resume Friday at the Capital Judicial Center.

In a later interview with police and on the witness stand at trial, McQuade pointed to Armstrong, known by the street name “Butter,” as the man who inflicted the fatal beating on Marceau.

“This is not a sweetheart deal, OK?” McQuade said in response to a question by Armstrong’s defense attorney Brad Grant. “I didn’t sign (on) to murder anybody, and I’m getting 10 to 15 years.”

McQuade insisted the plan was not to kill Marceau, but rather rob him of 5 grams of heroin that Marceau had been trying to market for several days.

Another co-defendant, Damik “Doughboy” Davis, 28, also of New York, pleaded guilty to the same charges as McQuade in exchange for the same deal. The deals are contingent on the men testifying truthfully at trial of any co-defendants.

Davis did not testify Thursday and it was unclear whether he was going to be called as a witness by the state.

McQuade on Thursday described the fatal beating again, saying he saw a milk bottle being smashed onto Marceau’s head, which was followed almost immediately by a wooden rocking chair being broken over Marceau.

On Thursday under cross-examination by Grant, McQuade insisted that Armstrong swung the bottle. “I’m positive it was Butter,” McQuade said, referring to Armstrong by his nickname.

In the initial interview on Nov. 25, 2015, McQuade did not mention Armstrong at all.

McQuade said he changed his story in January 2016 shortly before he, girlfriend Zina Fritze, Davis and Armstrong all were indicted on charges of murder, felony murder and robbery in connection with the killing of Marceau.

Fritze hanged herself in jail a day after pleading not guilty to those charges.

On Thursday, McQuade also testified that although Fritze was in the apartment at the time the fatal beating was inflicted, she did not participate in it.

“Was she capable of violence?” Grant asked.

“Yeah, all 90 pounds of her,” McQuade said. “I could stop her, and I was 130 pounds at the time.”

Fritze was a tall, thin woman, and both she and McQuade were heroin addicts. McQuade, who remains behind bars, is visibly heavier now than he was two and a half years ago.

McQuade said he tried to get Davis and Armstrong to stop and leave because neighbors would be calling police. McQuade said Davis did, but Armstrong did not.

On Wednesday, the state’s chief medical examiner testified that Marceau suffered “multiple blunt trauma to multiple parts of the body,” but the fatal blows were those inflicted at the neck level and above. Photos of Marceau’s head show badly swollen and blackened features.

Another witness on Thursday, Amanda Ware, 31, of Sidney, testified that she had encountered Armstrong in Augusta and in various drug deals, and recalled he used a white or silver cellphone. Ware said that a white cellphone found by investigators on the ground outside McQuade’s apartment building could be the one she saw Armstrong using. It was shown to her in a plastic evidence bag.

She also testified that she had talked with Armstrong about marijuana — which she said was his drug of choice, not hers — and that he told her “something about him being down 10 grand and he had to come up with 10 grand before going home.”

Ware pleaded guilty in March 2018 to a federal charge of using/maintaining a drug-involved premises and aiding and abetting in connection with a central Maine drug conspiracy. She is being held in the Hancock County jail pending sentencing.

She said she and her attorney had negotiated various immunity agreements about her testimony.

On Thursday afternoon, Christine Waterhouse, a forensic biologist with the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory, testified that she found no DNA belonging to Armstrong on any of the items of clothing tested or any items removed from the crime scene at 75 Washington St., Apartment 8.

The prosecution, in its opening statement, said there was none.

Dawn Ego, of the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit, testified that she analyzed the white cellphone in 2016 and was unable to extract any data from it. However, another round of testing in March 2018 with more sophisticated testing software allowed her to see messages on the phone, including one sent Oct. 18, 2015, from a “Nicole,” which said, “You need to call me what the hell, Aubrey.”

In raw data, Ego said she found a longer message referencing “Aubrey.” Part of the message, displayed on a screen in the courtroom, said, “Hopefully you can be a better father to your daughter soon.”

Grant objected to the testimony and the use of the data found, saying it came in too close to the start of the trial and the defense did not have time to do its own investigation into it.

Justice Daniel Billings overruled the objection. “Once that data was extracted from the phone, it was provided to the defense in a timely manner,” Billings said. “The court is not going to penalize the state for extra diligence.”

The prosecution’s theory is that Armstrong dropped that cellphone when he fled the apartment building that night. Another cellphone was found in the pocket of a sweatshirt abandoned on an apartment fire escape railing that night. That sweatshirt and cellphone were linked to Davis, not Armstrong.

Neighbors who heard loud thuds and other sounds from the supposedly vacant fourth-floor apartment had called police, and Davis answered the door before fleeing.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams

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