AUGUSTA — A New York man convicted of felony murder for his role in the 2015 killing of Joseph Marceau of Augusta was sentenced Thursday, for the third time, to 30 years in prison.

Marceau’s parents testified at Aubrey N. Armstrong’s latest sentencing, which followed two successful appeals to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, that the ongoing legal battle over Armstrong’s sentence forces them to keep reliving the loss of their son and be reminded how he suffered when he was beaten to death during a drug robbery that prosecutors said was orchestrated by Armstrong.

“We as a family have been living and reliving our pain,” Marceau’s stepfather, Marc Menard, read from a statement he said was written by his wife and Marceau’s mother, Deborah Menard.

“We’d hoped as a family to heal over time, knowing justice had been served. Yet we’re still having to relive this tragic loss of my son over and over again. We hope for a full sentence, and that it is truly finalized this time so our healing can continue.”

Armstrong was first sentenced to 30 years in prison in May 2018, after Justice Daniel Billings found him guilty of felony murder and robbery.

Armstrong and three others were charged with murder, felony murder and robbery in the drug-related killing of Marceau in Augusta.


At least one co-defendant 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.

Billings found Armstrong, 32, of  Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, not guilty of the murder charge because the judge said he did not believe it had been proven Armstrong was directly involved in the beating death. Billings, however, convicted Armstrong of the other two charges at the close of a five-day, nonjury trial.

On appeal, Armstrong’s convictions and sentences on felony murder and robbery charges were deemed unconstitutional by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in July 2019 because they violated the U.S. Constitution’s double jeopardy clause.

The court ruled that being convicted and sentenced for both felony murder and robbery was essentially being punished twice for the same crime, and directed the lower court to merge the two charges and resentence Armstrong.

Armstrong was resentenced in 2019, again to 30 years in prison, also by Billings.

But that sentence, too, was appealed successfully to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, with justices ruling the lower court erred in not holding a full resentencing and not merging the robbery charge into the felony murder charge, as the justices had directed.


Instead, the state had dismissed the robbery charge, and Billings elected not to have a full resentencing, in part, he said at the time, so members of Marceau’s family would not have to testify again about his death.

A full resentencing took place Thursday, with members of Marceau’s and Armstrong’s families observing from inside the courtroom or over a Zoom feed.

No members of Armstrong’s family testified in court, but some had written letters to the court, expressing support for Armstrong and saying he had previously been a churchgoing, hardworking person who had worked with his father in construction.

Billings said he read what Armstrong’s family members had submitted to the court, which was not submitted at his first sentencing, and he would consider it as he made his decision.

Billings said Thursday that while Armstrong had family support and a history that suggested he had a better chance of being rehabilitated than previously thought, none of that outweighed the case’s aggravating factors.

The judge again sentenced Armstrong to 30 years, the maximum sentence for the class A crime of felony murder.


Billings said that while it was not proven Armstrong was physically involved in the beating death of Marceau, it also had not been proven he was not involved. He said Armstrong’s planning of the violent robbery was enough to find him guilty, and noted aggravating factors, including Armstrong’s drug sales, that the robbery was tied to drugs and that the New York man had fled the state and tried to intimidate witnesses.

Under Maine law, a person is guilty of felony murder if, acting alone or with others, he or she 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.

Armstrong’s lawyer, Scott Hess, argued it was unfair that Damik “Doughboy” Davis, whom Hess said was the one who beat Marceau to death and was also sentenced to 30 years in prison, had 10 of those years suspended.

That means as long as Davis complies with the terms of his probation, he will serve 20 years in prison, a lighter sentence than Armstrong’s. Hess also said Armstrong did not have any role in the assault that killed Marceau.

“The court is bound by the verdict, which was that Mr. Armstrong was found not guilty of murder,” Hess said. “To not suspend a sentence for Mr. Armstrong but to do so for Mr. Davis is hard to reconcile.”

Co-defendants Michael “Dirty” McQuade of Augusta and Davis of New York pleaded guilty to felony murder and robbery charges in plea deals with the state.

McQuade was sentenced to 12 years in prison, with an additional 13 years suspended, and four years of probation.

Davis, who had prior felony convictions, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with an additional 10 years suspended, and four years of probation.

The fourth defendant, Zina Fritze, 27, of Augusta, who was McQuade’s girlfriend, hanged herself in jail in 2016, a day after pleading not guilty to the charges.

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