SKOWHEGAN — A Somerset County jury convicted the 35-year-old Skowhegan man who was on trial for his role in the armed robbery of a Madison convenience store in August.

Raymond Ellis Photo courtesy of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office

Raymond Ellis was convicted on charges of robbery, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and theft by unauthorized taking following two days of testimony in the Somerset County Superior Courthouse. He was indicted on those counts in April after being charged in December.

Before returning its unanimous verdict on all three counts, the jury deliberated for about an hour Thursday afternoon. It asked to re-watch video surveillance footage of the robbery during deliberations, and shortly after returned with its verdict to the Skowhegan courtroom.

Ellis, who is currently being held at the Somerset County Jail in Madison, will be sentenced at a later date. Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen and attorneys said in court that sentencing would likely be in July.

In both his opening and closing statements, lead prosecutor Tim Snyder, first assistant district attorney for the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office, said the case was about greed.

Ellis, and the two others who participated in the crime, took hundreds of dollars of cash, sodas and cigarettes at gunpoint from the convenience store on Old Point Avenue in Madison, threatening the clerk and forcing him to the ground.


During two days of testimony, prosecutors showed the jury video surveillance from the Aug. 5, 2023, robbery, and questioned multiple witnesses who said they believed Ellis participated in the robbery.

On Thursday, the jury heard from Julie Cantara, Ellis’ wife, and her friend Brylie Murray, who both said they heard Ellis say he committed the robbery.

Cantara said Ellis told her about it after she saw a social media post about the robbery shortly after it happened. Murray said she overheard Ellis talking about it outside the complex where they all lived at a later date. Cantara, however, testified that she did not remember that conversation.

Det. David Cole of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, the lead investigator of the case, testified Thursday about a gun he seized from Ellis’ vehicle on Nov. 8. The sawed-off shotgun matched the description of one of two guns used in the robbery, Cole said.

Although it was not discussed in court as it is a pending criminal matter, Ellis was arrested Nov. 8 following a high-speed police chase in downtown Skowhegan, authorities said at the time. A loaded shotgun was among the items found in the vehicle after the chase ended, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office said then.

Prosecutors also relied on testimony Wednesday from the two other participants in the robbery of the Big Apple. Both admitted to their roles in the crime and identified Ellis as the other suspect to investigators.


Seth Johnson, 19, who served as the getaway driver, will serve five years in jail, with all but 90 days suspended, followed by four years of probation as part of a plea agreement reached with prosecutors. As part of that deal, he agreed to testify in Ellis’ trial, he said in court. His sentence begins Aug. 2.

The case in juvenile court against the other participant, who was then 17, was dismissed in exchange for testifying at Ellis’ trial, he said in court.

Jennifer Cohen, Ellis’ defense attorney, questioned the credibility of the two teenagers, in part because of the plea agreements. The two got “sweet deals” from prosecutors in exchange for their testimony, Cohen said.

In her closing statement Thursday, she said they should not be trusted.

“(They) lied about so many other things, they could have easily lied about their roles in the events,” she said.

Snyder, the prosecutor, said that the agreements were reached legally — in consultation with defense attorneys — and had no bearing on Ellis’ case.


“Nobody is asking you to like these witnesses,” Snyder said.

Cohen also pointed to inconsistencies in the testimony of the two teenagers, including that Johnson testified Ellis threatened him with a gun before the robbery, while the other teenager testified that nothing interesting had happened at that point in time.

The gun obtained by Cole was a different kind from the one that the teenager described receiving from Ellis and using in the robbery, Cohen said.

In addition, Cantara’s testimony was called into question because she said she made her statements to police about Ellis’ admission while having relationship issues with him.

Cohen further tried to raise doubt by suggesting two other possible people of interest that she said police did not investigate enough. One was the Big Apple clerk work who worked the day shift who was wearing pants similar to those worn by one of the people in the video of the robbery when he spoke with investigators. Another was a man known to police who was stopped by sheriff’s deputies in Anson hours after the robbery, near where the wallet of the store clerk was found by a civilian. That man also said he was with a friend, who investigators never contacted, Cohen said.

The identification of the suspects, including Ellis, was also called into question. On Thursday, Cohen played the 911 call made by the store clerk in which he described the two mask-wearing robbers who entered the store as white males and said he did not see any visible tattoos. Ellis is not white and has facial tattoos, his defense attorney said.

The Big Apple clerk did not testify.

Ellis, who is still facing charges stemming from the November police chase, also did not testify at the trial.

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