Thomaston murder suspect makes initial court appearance

By Stephen Betts | Feb 04, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Zachary Titus, right, listens to his attorney, Jeremy Pratt, prior to the start of his hearing Monday, Feb. 4, in Knox County Superior Court.

Rockland — A 34-year-old Thomaston man charged with the murder of a fellow inmate at the state prison farm entered a not-guilty plea Monday, Feb. 4, at his initial court appearance.

Zachary Titus is charged with murder in connection with the death of 28-year-old Dana R. Bartlett on June 24, 2018, at the Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren.

Titus said he understood the charge against him before pleading not guilty during a five-minute hearing in Knox County Superior Court.

Defense attorney Jeremy Pratt, who was appointed by Justice Bruce Mallonee to represent Titus, asked for the evidence that the Attorney General's Office has against his client. He pointed out that the alleged crime occurred more than seven months ago.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said she did not have all the evidence yet, but that if the defense requested it, she could send the information piecemeal. She asked for 45 days to present the discovery to the defense.

A hearing may be held to determine whether Titus is eligible for bail. The parties discussed whether that could be held as early as Wednesday, but no decision was immediately made.

Titus is serving a two-year prison term for felony theft. He began his sentence in March 2018 and is scheduled to be released in August 2020. His last residence before prison was Beechwood Street in Thomaston, according to court records.

Titus has a long criminal record in Knox County, but none for violent offenses. Since 2013, there are multiple theft cases, burglary of a motor vehicle, and negotiating a worthless instrument.

No cause of death for Bartlett has been released.

Bartlett had been sentenced in March 2018 in Androscoggin Superior Court to 16 months in prison for driving a motor vehicle after his license had been revoked as a habitual offender. He had lived in Lewiston.

Back in August, Jason Palmiter, who was released July 6 after serving nearly nine years in prison for robbery, said he spoke with Bartlett the day he died and that Bartlett had gone to a corrections officer and asked to be moved to another cell because he was being threatened. The other people in his cell had suspected him of stealing some cigarettes, according to Palmiter.

Bartlett then voiced his concern to Palmiter, commenting that the guard did not seem concerned and did nothing, Palmiter said.

The Corrections Department said earlier this month that no disciplinary action has been taken against staff in relation to the Bartlett case.

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