Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Betty Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA — Two days after getting a stay of the start of his prison sentence, Travis J. Lawler, the former Marine sentenced last week after killing his sister and her boyfriend in a drunken-driving crash in June 2012, ran into trouble and ended up first in a hospital, then in jail.
Free on post-conviction bail, the 23-year-old former Oakland man was found by Officer Matthew Wilcox of the Fairfield police after witnesses reported a shoeless, shirtless man hitting cars and assaulting people about 8:22 p.m. Wednesday.
Wilcox reported seeing a man walking around who was "noncooperative, yelling and talking nonstop but not making any sense," according to Assistant District Attorney Joelle Pratt's motion to revoke Lawler's bail.
The document filed in Kennebec County Superior Court says officers found a bag of marijuana in Lawler's pocket and suspected he had taken an illicit drug, such as spice or bath salts, so Lawler was taken to a hospital.
He was arrested and brought to the Kennebec County jail at 11:50 p.m. Friday after a warrant was issued Thursday by Judge John O'Neil, who heard the state's motion for revocation of postconviction bail and who ordered Lawler held without bail pending a court hearing. Today, prosecutors also filed a motion asking that Lawler's sentence start immediately.
O'Neil was the judge who sentenced Lawler on July 29 to nine years in prison, with all but four years suspended, and three years' probation on two manslaughter convictions for a drunken-driving crash that killed his sister and her boyfriend.
That day, he wore the dress uniform of a U.S. Marine, telling the judge that it was all he had left in his life. Lawler was ordered to report on Sept. 6 to begin serving the initial four-year period of incarceration. His attorney, Scott Gurney, had requested the stay on Lawler's behalf.
For today's hearing via video link from Kennebec County jail, Lawler wore a two-piece, orange jail uniform that appeared bright red on the television monitor.
Gurney, who was at Lawler's side in the hearing room at the jail, said Lawler denied allegations that he had violated conditions of his postconviction bail. Those conditions included a prohibition on using or possessing illegal drugs and/or alcohol.
No specific allegations were included with the motions.
Gurney said Lawler "was prepared to move forward with denials on all the motions today."
Gurney said he expected additional charges to be brought against Lawler in Somerset County once Fairfield police complete their reports.
Justice Michaela Murphy scheduled Lawler's next hearing for Sept. 5 in Kennebec County Superior Court.
Assistant District Attorney David Spencer, representing the state, requested Lawler be held without bail, and the judge agreed.
Lawler spent the hearing a week ago in tears and apologizing as he pleaded guilty to two counts each of manslaughter and aggravated criminal operating under the influence in connection with the June 16, 2012, crash in Belgrade, and one charge of violating conditions of release.
No tears were apparent today.
Lawler was on leave from the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune in North Carolina when the crash occurred about 11 p.m. after the car he was driving went off Horse Point Road in North Belgrade and struck a tree. He has been discharged from the Marines since then.
His sister, Kristin Lawler, 20, of Oakland, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her boyfriend, Jackson Bolduc, 25, of Belgrade, died from his injuries the next day.
A third passenger, Dylan Desroches, then 20, of Waterville, suffered serious injuries.
In October, Lawler was convicted in Waterville District Court of possession of 1 1/4 ounces of marijuana and fined $350. The offense occurred Aug. 4, 2012, in Winslow.
Betty Adams — 621-5631