September 23, 2020

Return of dead man’s bail money wanted > Massachusetts resident faced burglary charges before body was found in Masardis

CARIBOU — An attorney representing the estate of Louis Alexander, whose body was found last year in a shallow grave in Masardis, is asking an Aroostook County court to return his client’s bail money.

It is believed that Alexander, who was from Massachusetts, was dead at the time he was expected to show up in January 1995 for his trial on burglary and theft charges, according to a motion filed in Aroostook County Superior Court.

The motion asks for the return of $35,000.

“Because defendant’s failure to appear was the result of his death, an event beyond his control, forfeiture of bail was inappropriate,” according to the motion filed by attorney Harold Stewart II of Presque Isle.

The motion also stated that last month, the state had dismissed the charges against Alexander.

A hearing is scheduled in the Superior Court in Caribou on Monday, Feb. 2.

Efforts to reach Stewart on Monday were unsuccessful.

The body of Alexander, 57, and that of Joseph Savitch, 55, also from Massachusetts, were found in August in a shallow grave in Masardis. The state’s chief medical examiner concluded that the pair had died of gunshot wounds and the deaths were ruled homicides. No one has been charged with the murders.

The two men were believed to be part of a burglary ring, whose members were from Massachusetts, that robbed dozens of houses in Aroostook County.

The other members of the ring, Jonathan Vendituoli of Westport, Mass., and Timothy O’Connell of North Reading, Mass., pleaded guilty to the burglaries and thefts in Aroostook County Superior Court. Both served two years in prison and were ordered to serve four years on probation.

According to state probation officials, the two men are serving their probation in Massachusetts.

The investigation into the homicides has taken the Maine State Police to Massachusetts twice in the effort to find the two men’s killers.

“A lot of our concentration has been out of state,” said state police Sgt. Dennis Appleton.

Trips to Massachusetts were made in the fall after the bodies were found. Another trip was made in December, Appleton said Friday.

While investigators said they have “learned a lot,” Appleton declined to talk about specific details.

Regarding Alexander’s time of death, Appleton said it appears that Alexander may have died before Jan. 9, 1995, the time he was to appear in Superior Court. The investigator based his opinion on such evidence as missing-persons reports filed on Alexander.

Although there have been no arrests, the police detective believed that the case is “workable and provable.”

“I’m optimistic that we can put this one together,” Appleton said.

Appleton said he expects to meet with the Maine assistant attorney general handling the case, William Stokes, within a few months to discuss the investigation further.

The quartet was indicted in 1994 for a string of burglaries in nine northern towns in Penobscot and Aroostook counties. Savitch, who owned property in Masardis, was never heard from again after his indictment.

Alexander showed up for his arraignment and pleaded not guilty to eight counts each of burglary and theft. He was released after posting bail.

According to court documents, $10,000 in cash and $25,000 from Gilberti Bail Bonds of Waltham, Mass., were posted. Alexander’s estate has asked for the cash, while the bondsman wants his money back, according to Stewart.

Alexander failed to show up on the day the jury was to be selected for his trial. At the time, Stewart said that Alexander’s family feared he was dead.

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