ROCKLAND — Various inquiries to PenBayPilot.com have been made concerning the status of the prosecution’s case against two former Rockland Police Officers who were charged Oct. 2, 2020, with aggravated felony cruelty for allegedly beating to death several porcupines on more than one occasion with a baton and while on duty.
As of May 19, and over seven months later, the cases have not been presented to the Knox County grand jury for possible indictments and the former officers have not been formally convicted, sentenced or fined for the charges.
When District Attorney Natasha Irving was asked May 4 about the status of the prosecution’s case against the two former police officers and why it was not included in the March Knox County grand jury session, she stated that it is, “still in negotiations, I think one waived grand jury and either way, we aren’t under deadline for gj yet.”
Addison Cox, 27, of Warren, and Mike Rolerson, 30, of Searsmont, were terminated as department employees Sept. 22 after the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office conducted the internal affairs investigation and the Maine Warden Service conducted the criminal investigation, Rockland Police Chief Chris Young confirmed in a previous news release.
Attorney Steve Smith, of Augusta, and who is representing Michael Rolerson, replied “no comment” by email May 7 when asked if he would provide an update regarding the status of the case and next steps.
Attorney Bruce M. Merrill, of Portland, who is representing Addison Cox, also stated by email May 7, “I can confirm that we are presently in negotiations with the D.A.’s office regarding the matter.”
According to the complaint filed in Knox County Court, the felony charge falls under the Maine Legislature Statute, Title 17, law §1031 for cruelty to animals. The court complaint states the, “men did intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause extreme physical pain to an animal; cause the death of an animal; or physically torture an animal.”
In a previous email from December 2020, Irving confirmed that the that the case will be presented to the Knox County grand jury, and from there the defendants will enter a plea.
The next session of the grand jury will not meet again until probably sometime in July, according to a Knox County courthouse clerk.
The former officers had one court appearance on Jan. 7 in Knox County Unified Court for a dispositional conference, which was not open to the public. They were initially to have appeared in court Nov. 9, 2020, but their attorneys filed an appearance on behalf of their clients to wave their appearances.
The purpose of the dispositional conference is for the defense attorneys to meet with the prosecution and a judge, discuss the merits of the evidence, and reach a possible plea agreement and resolution.
The Knox County Court confirmed that the next dispositional conferences for the former officers are scheduled for July, but an exact date as not yet been confirmed.
Sarah Shepherd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org