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State v. Lord

Supreme Court of Maine

May 30, 2019


          Argued: September 12, 2018

          Andrea S. Manthorne, Esq. (orally), Roach, Hewitt, Ruprecht, Sanchez & Bischoff, Portland, for appellant Anthony Lord

          Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, Donald W. Macomber, Asst. Atty. Gen. (orally), and Abaigeal M. Ridge, Stud. Atty., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine


          SAUFLEY, C.J.

         [¶1] In July 2015, Anthony Lord went on a multi-hour, violent rampage through Aroostook and Penobscot Counties. By the time the police arrested him, Lord had killed two people and severely injured several others. He eventually pleaded guilty to two murders, see 17-A M.R.S. § 201(1)(A) (2018), and a dozen other crimes. At sentencing, the court (Penobscot and Aroostook Counties, A Murray, J.) imposed a life sentence for each of the two murders and concurrent sentences of various terms of years for the other crimes. The Sentence Review Panel accepted Lord's petition to appeal from the life sentences, bringing this matter before us. State v. Lord, No. SRP-17-364 (Me. Sent. Rev. Panel Nov. 8, 2017); see 15 M.R.S. §§ 2151-53 (2018); M.R. App. P. 19.

         [¶2] Lord argues that the court erred in entering the two life sentences because, in setting the basic sentences, the court improperly considered the other crimes that he committed during those fateful hours. Lord also argues that the court improperly "double-counted" his criminal history by considering it both (1) in determining the basic sentence and (2) as an aggravating factor when determining his maximum sentence. We affirm the sentences entered by the court.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual History

         [¶3] The following facts are drawn from the State's summary of the evidence that it would have presented had Lord not pleaded guilty and had the matter gone to trial. See M.R.U. Crim. P. 11(b)(3), (e). Although Lord disputed or corrected certain of the details in the State's representations, he does not dispute the evidentiary support for any of the following facts.

         [¶4] In July 2015, Anthony Lord was thirty-five years old. Two months prior to the events in issue, his six-month-old son had died as a result of what Lord considered to be the intentional act of another man. Also prior to the events in issue, Lord's former girlfriend had reported criminal conduct by Lord toward her.

         [¶5] Sometime before 8:30 p.m. on July 16, 2015, Lord set fire to a barn on property owned by that young woman's mother in Aroostook County. The mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was alerted to the fire by a neighbor, after which the mother called her daughter. As the fire was raging, the young woman arrived with the man she was then dating, and they stayed with her mother after the fire department left. The fire burned intensely, eventually leveling the barn.

         [¶6] Hours later, at approximately 4:00 a.m., Lord knocked on the door of a friend's uncle, who lived in Aroostook County. He told the uncle that the car he was driving was out of gas and had broken down. When the uncle came outside, Lord hit him in the head with a hammer, ordered him inside, took two guns-a shotgun and a .22 caliber revolver-and ammunition, and barricaded the uncle in the basement of the house. Lord next drove to the residence of his own brother and fired through the window with the revolver. His brother was at home but was not injured.

         [¶7] Lord then went back to the property of the young woman's mother. Arriving at the home after all of the fire responders had left, Lord used the revolver he had stolen to shoot through the door of the mother's home, wounding his former girlfriend in the arm. He then entered the home and shot eight bullets into the neck, chest, and pelvis of her boyfriend, who, after attempting to talk with his own mother by phone one last time, later died of his wounds. The young woman ran to the bathroom where her mother helped her escape through the window. Lord shot her mother in the shoulder, the young woman successfully escaped, and Lord reloaded his gun and exited the house.

         [¶8] As the young woman fled, jumping into the bed of a passing truck, Lord came after her and jumped into the truck bed with her. When the driver responded to their unexpected presence in the truck bed and pulled into a nearby driveway, Lord shot him three times in the neck and upper back using the revolver. Both the young woman and Lord leapt out of the truck at that point. The driver survived his injuries.

         [¶9] In a pickup truck stolen from his friend's uncle, Lord drove toward the Penobscot area with the young woman in the truck. Police found and pursued the truck, and Lord shot at oncoming traffic and at law enforcement officers. Lord eventually drove to a woodlot where he encountered two men who had just dropped off a load of wood. He did not know either of those men. Lord asked for a cigarette and a phone and then aimed the revolver at one of the men, who said, "No, no, no man." The man tried to run away, but Lord shot directly at him and killed him. As the other man turned to run, Lord fired and hit the man once; he survived.

         [¶10] With the young woman still with him, Lord returned to Aroostook County in a truck owned by one of the men he had shot; broke into a number of different camps and residences; and stole a four-wheeler, another firearm, and other items. He was finally arrested after meeting with a family member.

         B. Procedural History

         [¶11] The procedural history is not in dispute. In July 2015, the State filed two complaints charging Anthony Lord with murder, 17-A M.R.S. § 201(1)(A), and kidnapping (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 301(1)(B)(1) (2018), in Aroostook County and murder, 17-A M.R.S. § 201(1)(A), in Penobscot County. In August and September, Lord was charged by indictments filed in each county with those crimes and multiple others.[1]

         [¶12] Lord initially pleaded not guilty to all charges. In late 2016, he moved to suppress evidence obtained during a police interview of him.[2] In June 2017, after finding Lord competent to stand trial, the court held an evidentiary hearing on Lord's motion to suppress, receiving in evidence a recording of the police interview.

         [¶13] Before the court could rule on the motion to suppress, Lord decided to plead guilty to the two murder charges and twelve of the other charged crimes, [3] and the State agreed to dismiss the three remaining charges.[4]

C. The Guilty Pleas

         [¶14] The court held a hearing in July 2017 at which it accepted Lord's guilty pleas. The court heard the State's summary of the factual basis for the charges, and it thoroughly and carefully followed the requirements of M.R.U. Crim. P. 11 to ensure that the plea was made knowingly and voluntarily. See M.R.U. Crim. P. ll(b)-(e).

          [¶15] After the State presented its summary of the available evidence, the court afforded Lord the opportunity to correct the facts, and he corrected or clarified certain details but did not dispute that he had committed any of the crimes described. He did agree that there was a factual basis for each charge. See M.R.U. Crim. P. 11(b)(3), (e). The court then reviewed the details of the major crimes with Lord and allowed him finally to clarify any discrepancies. There is no question from the record that Lord understood all of the State's evidence against him and that, once clarified, he agreed with the State's recitation. It was ultimately clear that Lord chose of his own volition to enter the guilty pleas.[5] He does not challenge that process or the court's acceptance of his pleas of guilty.

         D. The Sentencing Hearing

         [¶16] The court held a sentencing hearing two weeks later. Lord and the State agreed that the court could consider the video recording of the July 17, 2015, police interview of Lord that had earlier been admitted at the suppression hearing. The State summarized the facts of the horrifying and lethal criminal activity in which Lord had engaged and argued for a basic and maximum sentence of life imprisonment for each of the murders. In support of its recommendation of basic sentences of life imprisonment, the State argued that Lord had in fact premeditated at least one of the killings; had intentionally caused multiple deaths; had used a firearm, which, as a felon, he was prohibited from possessing; had killed the first murder victim in what should have been the safety of a residence; and had killed the second murder victim as a random act of violence. The State further argued for the maximum sentence of life imprisonment because, despite the mitigating factor of Lord accepting responsibility for the murders, his actions had a devastating impact on the victims and their families; he had not been under the influence of any substance and was aware of what he was doing; he had multiple prior convictions, including assault and unlawful sexual contact; and he had violated the terms of his probation by possessing a firearm.

         [¶17] The State presented victim impact statements from the young woman who was the object of Lord's pursuit, her mother, the driver whom Lord shot from the truck bed, and family members of those killed or injured by Lord.

         [¶18] Lord addressed the court, the victims, and their families and apologized for his actions. Lord, his mother, and a number of Lord's relatives each testified that he suffered from mental illness and that he had been losing control since his six-month-old son died.[6] Lord acknowledged that his sentence should exceed the minimum sentence but asked that there be some "daylight at the end." Lord reasoned that a term of forty years would be a just sentence under the circumstances because he went ...

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