October 5, 2012

Farmington Halloween kidnappers receive stiff jail sentences

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling mhhetling@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

FARMINGTON -- The three men who robbed and kidnapped a couple in their Farmington home last Halloween were sentenced Thursday to a combined 50 years in prison.

Prosecutors sought sentences that would include 20 years of prison time for each offender. The defense team, meanwhile, asked for sentences ranging from six to 10 years of prison time for Kevin S. Crandall, 27, of Wilton; Marcus A. Thompson, 26, of Farmington; and Michael E. Kidd Jr., 20, of Chesterville.

In Franklin County Superior Court Thursday afternoon, Justice Michaela Murphy heard three hours of testimony from lawyers, the defendants and the victims before sentencing Crandall to 20 years and Kidd and Thompson to 15 apiece.

On Halloween night, Crandall, Kidd and Thompson forced their way into a Seamons Road home owned by Dennis Collins, 65, a Vietnam veteran and Karen, 63, a substitute teacher.

Collins, who took the stand with the help of a cane, described how he attempted to close the door when he saw a man standing on his porch with a gun, but was knocked to the ground. His arm was injured and bleeding after the three barged through the door wearing ski masks, gloves and long sleeves that obscured their identities.

One of the intruders held a gun on Collins while the other two ransacked the home, stealing prescription pills, two guns owned by Collins and $1,500 belonging to the American Legion.

Then Crandall, who the Collinses both described as the leader, held Karen Collins hostage while Kidd and Thompson forced Dennis Collins to drive to an ATM and withdraw $700.

Both Collins' cried as they described the fear that they felt when they were separated and the continuing impact of the crime on their lives.

When they took her husband out of the home at gunpoint, "I didn't think I'd ever see him alive again," said Karen Collins.

Left alone with Crandall, she said that she attempted to engage him in conversation and give him whatever he wanted.

"I wanted him to like me so that he wouldn't hurt me," she said, her voice breaking.

Dennis Collins said that he didn't know what to think when he was ordered to drive home and found Crandall standing in the driveway alone.

"I didn't know if he had shot my wife," he said.

Collins, who said that he was wounded three times while serving in Vietnam, testified that the incident reversed years of progress he had made in coping with post-traumatic stress.

"My ability to protect my home seemed gone," he said.

Thursday, nearly a year after the incident, the couple said they have to keep constant vigil to feel safe, meaning that they don't sleep at the same time. Karen Collins generally stays awake all night, while her husband stays awake during the day.

She also testified that she no longer works as a substitute teacher, as she is prone to break down in tears at any time.

When handing down the sentence, Murphy reiterated an argument put forth by the prosecutor: that the crime had caused harm to the community at large.

"This is not supposed to happen in Maine," she said. "It's certainly not supposed to happen to this area of Maine."

She described the victim impact, an important component in determining the severity of the sentence, as "extremely severe."

Defendants speak

Each of the defendants addressed the court, taking responsibility for their crimes and apologizing, citing drug addiction as a factor in their behavior.

(Continued on page 2)

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