AUGUSTA — For his role in the fatal beating and drug robbery of Joseph Marceau, of Augusta, a New York man will spend 30 years in prison and four years on probation.

Aubrey Armstrong, 29, of Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, was sentenced Friday at the Capital Judicial Center on his convictions for felony murder and robbery.

Nine people, all friends and family members of Marceau, who was 31 when he was killed, watched the hourlong sentencing hearing Friday, and two addressed the judge.

Speaking on behalf of Marceau’s father, Gerard Marceau, Bruce Davis, of South Gardiner, said Marceau wanted Armstrong to know he never would forgive him for taking his son from him.

“Butter, whatever his name was … is … rot in hell. That’s how I feel. That’s how Gerard feels,” Davis said.

Armstrong and three others were all charged with murder, felony murder and robbery in the drug-related killing of Joseph Marceau. Two co-defendants pinpointed Armstrong, known in the Augusta area as “Butta” and in New York as “ACon,” as the one who administered the fatal beating Nov. 23, 2015, in a trash-strewn fourth-floor apartment from which one of them had been evicted.

A judge cleared Armstrong of murder but convicted him of the other two charges at the close of a five-day, nonjury trial in the same courthouse.

Joseph Marceau’s stepfather, Marc Menard, of Gardiner, said he was speaking for his stepson and others in the family.

“As much as it hurts to say this, we will forgive Mr. Armstrong, not because he deserves it but because we need to move on as a family and let go of the lingering hate and animosity that we feel,” Menard said. “Our family cannot let the reality of pain that Mr. Armstrong exacted upon our Joe continue to fester inside our souls.”

Marceau was bludgeoned to death, hog-tied and dragged into a back bedroom, where his bloodied body was discovered by police called by neighbors who heard the ruckus.

“There’s no question Mr. Marceau was brutally murdered,” Justice Daniel Billings said Friday in imposing the sentence.

The prosecutors also played a four-minute video of photos of Marceau’s life, showing him growing up and happy and smiling.

Armstrong did not speak in court on Friday and did not testify in May at his trial, at which witnesses from the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory testified that his DNA was not found on any items taken from Apartment 8 at 75 Washington St. in Augusta, where Marceau’s body was discovered.

The two co-defendants, Michael “Dirty” McQuade, 48, of Augusta, and Damik “Doughboy” Davis, 28, pleaded guilty to felony murder and robbery charges and are scheduled to be sentenced July 30. McQuade took the stand during Armstrong’s trial to testify that he saw Armstrong beat Marceau to death over drugs.

McQuade said Marceau surrendered the drugs after the first blow. Davis was not called to testify.

In an opening statement at the trial, Assistant Attorney General John Nathans said a group of people, including Armstrong, hatched a plan to rob Marceau, who was a drug user looking to sell some heroin to get some crack. Nathans said the people involved either wanted to get high off Marceau’s drugs or to work off a drug debt.

The fourth defendant, Zina Fritze, 27 of Augusta, who was McQuade’s girlfriend, hanged herself in jail a day after pleading not guilty to the charges.

In finding Armstrong guilty of felony murder and robbery, Billings had said there was enough evidence from witnesses to find that Armstrong was at the murder scene and participated in the robbery. He cited testimony of two women — who had been given immunity from prosecution — who described Fritze, McQuade and Armstrong climbing into the women’s apartment through a fire escape window as emergency vehicles arrived at the crime scene.

“That is very strong evidence that Mr. Armstrong had been at the scene of the crime along with Ms. Fritze and Mr. McQuade,” Billings said.

Under Maine law, a person is guilty of felony murder if, acting alone or with others persons, the person commits or attempts to commit a felony — murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, gross sexual assault, or escape — and this causes the death of another person.

At the sentencing hearing, Billings noted that Armstrong had fled New York, where he was due to be sentenced on a drug charge, and came to Maine to deal drugs.

“This is basically someone who should have been serving a sentence in New York at the time this tragic murder took place,” Billings said.

He noted that Marceau was “obviously loved by his family,” something made clear in the court and the victim impact statements.

“Despite the way the victim might have been living his life at the time and involved in the throes of addiction, he was a young man who but for these events would at least have had the opportunity hopefully to get some help and turn his life around,” Billings said.

A number of victim impact statements were submitted to the court before the sentencing hearing.

Marceau’s father, Gerard Marceau, wrote that his son never had a chance to become a dad. “I can never forgive them for taking that away.”

Marceau’s mother, Deb Menard, wrote that she wanted to speak for her son, whose voice has been taken away.

“Joey, was not a mean-spirited person,” she said. “He loved people and was a big kid at heart. … He had a wit that shone through even with his mental illness.”

She added, “We urge the court to give each of them the longest sentence possible so that they have plenty of time to reflect on, learn from and make things right with themselves before they re-enter society.”

The family declined to speak to the news media after the sentencing hearing.

The judge imposed the sentence sought by the state: a 30-year sentence on the felony murder conviction and a concurrent 30-year sentence on the robbery, with all but 29 suspended, and four years of probation. He also ordered that Armstrong pay restitution of $3,320 to the victim’s compensation fund.

In the defense sentencing memo, Armstrong’s attorney, Brad Grant, suggested a sentence of 14 years in prison, with three of those years suspended while Armstrong is on probation for four years.

Grant maintains that Davis committed the murder itself. “The evidence for murder against Damik Davis was truly overwhelming,” Grant wrote in the memo. “He was heard coming from the room where Joe Marceau was found deceased. Davis is a large man, as was Joe Marceau. Davis was sweating profusely and was out of breath, and most importantly, he had blood on his bare hands and shoes. Damik Davis is also a violent person.”

Grant listed Davis’s prior convictions, which began in 2003, when he was a juvenile: two robberies, grand larceny, and criminal possession of a loaded weapon. For a 2007 robbery, he had been sentenced to five years in prison and five years of supervision.

Grant’s memo cites the deals the state made with McQuade and Davis, saying McQuade agreed to a term of 25 years in prison, with 10 to 15 years suspended; and Davis accepted a deal calling for a 30-year sentence, with 20 years to be served initially, followed by four years of probation.

McQuade and Davis are scheduled for sentencing hearings July 30 at the Capital Judicial Center.

“At the time of the offense, Aubrey Armstrong, a New York resident, was sojourning in the Augusta area for the purpose of selling illegal narcotics, chiefly heroin, to the ready market of Augusta-based drug addicts,” wrote Assistant Attorney General John Alsop.

The state’s sentencing memo includes details of separate police interviews with Davis and McQuade that took place in December 2015 and January 2016.

Davis says Armstrong started beating Marceau and that Davis backed off.

McQuade says Armstrong hit Marceau with a bottle and that Davis crashed a heavy chair over Marceau’s head.

He said Armstrong later struck Marceau with a grade stake, which he called a property stick.

Outside the courthouse after the sentencing hearing, Alsop said, “It was the maximum sentence, and that’s what the case called for.”

During the trial, two interpreters translated between Guyanese Creole and English for Armstrong, who is not a citizen but who is in the United States legally, according to Grant. It is unclear whether Armstrong is from Guyana, a South American country near the Caribbean. During the sentencing hearing, Alsop referenced the lack of information about Armstrong’s background and nationality, calling him a “mystery man.”

One interpreter translated all the proceedings at the sentencing hearing.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.