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Waldoboro man sentenced for breaking into pot facility

By Stephen Betts | Oct 07, 2020
Photo by: Knox County Jail Tony Thurman

Rockland — A 53-year-old Waldoboro man was sentenced to a combined minimum of 18 months for breaking into a medical marijuana growing facility in Washington.

Tony D. Thurman was sentenced Oct. 6 in the Knox County Court to nine months for a criminal mischief charge. He will then serve four years and three months with all but nine months suspended to be followed by two years probation for burglary and theft.

He will serve the time at the Maine Coastal Reentry Center in Belfast. If he completes the reentry center program successfully, there will be no further time on a charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.

If Thurman doesn’t complete the program successfully, he will be sentenced for the weapon offense with no length agreement.

A Class A robbery charge was dismissed as part of the agreement reached between the district attorney's office and defense.

Thurman has been held at the Knox County Jail in Rockland in lieu of $5,000 cash bail since his arrest Jan. 22 for a robbery late Sept. 12, 2018, at a marijuana facility on Liberty Road in Washington.

Pending at the time of his pleas Oct. 6 were motions filed March 4 by his attorney Rachel Cundiff to suppress the evidence seized at his residence.

Police took a DNA swab of him and took a pair of sweatpants and a jacket, according to her motion. The defense attorney argued that police went to the home early in the morning and woke him up. She argued that any waiving of his rights were not given knowingly or voluntarily.

The break-in occurred late Sept. 12, 2018, at a marijuana facility on Liberty Road in Washington. The Knox County Communications Center received an alarm from the facility of an entry and contacted the manager.

A woman went over and found two men in the building, stealing marijuana. She said one man, not wearing a mask, ran at her with clippers in his hand. He dropped the clippers and grabbed her by the arm. The woman said she recognized the man as a Tony, who worked for the business when it was under construction, according to the police affidavit filed in court.

The woman told police Thurman was yelling, "I'm getting what I'm owed. I'm getting what I'm owed," according to the affidavit filed in court by the Knox County Sheriff's Office.

The man then grabbed her cell phone and demanded to know who she planned to call. The woman was able to break free and run to a neighboring house.

The pair fled before police arrived.

The investigation resulted in the discovery of a loaded pistol in the back of the building, and a black knit cap near the facility. A tracking canine followed a scent from the cap for about a half a mile before losing it.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Fernald told Judge Geoffrey Rushlau at a Jan. 24 hearing that a test found Thurman's DNA on the knit hat that was worn by the man who grabbed her. The district attorney's office then obtained an arrest warrant Jan. 17 after receiving the DNA test result.

A sheriff's department detective interviewed Thurman the following day and he denied committing the robbery and maintained he was targeted because he was black. The deputy found a pair of pants in the suspect's residence, and they were wet from the knees down and had seed pod burrs on them. The same type of plant was found in back of the medical marijuana facility, according to the affidavit.

The second person reported being in the marijuana-growing facility was wearing a mask, and has not been apprehended.

Thurman was convicted of assault in Lincoln County last year, but was free on a stay of execution at the time of his arrest.

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