AUBURN — Charles “Scooter” Epps pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight charges, including burglary and theft, and was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail. In addition, his probation on a previous theft conviction was revoked, and he will serve the remaining 11 months of that sentence at the Androscoggin County Jail.
Epps, 33, of Lewiston was indicted in June on charges that he broke into a car parked in Lewiston and took a laptop, children’s CDs, sunglasses, a woman’s purse and other property. He later sold the laptop to a friend for $150.
In August, he was charged with six counts of violating his probation by bringing two Airsoft BB guns to his weekly visit to his probation officer Aug. 13, using heroin and cocaine Aug. 6 in violation of two Maine Pretrial Services supervised bail contracts on file with the Androscoggin County Superior Court, violating a 9 p.m. curfew imposed by that bail contract July 31, and using heroin and Suboxone July 30 in violation of two bail contracts.
In the cases of illegal drug use, he tested positive for heroin, cocaine and Suboxone.
Epps is prohibited from owning firearms because of a previous armed robbery conviction in Florida.
All of the probation restrictions were set in place after his conviction of the theft of $1,000 worth of Legos and other goods from Walmart in 2011.
Appearing before Active Retired Justice Carl O. Bradford in Superior Court on Tuesday, Epps pleaded guilty to all probation violations and to felony burglary and theft of a motor vehicle. A third criminal charge, misdemeanor criminal mischief, was dismissed as part of a plea deal.
According to Assistant District Attorney Lisa Bogue, if the case had gone to trial, the state had been prepared to present evidence that Epps was seen breaking the window of a car parked near Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston on April 7, reaching in and taking a laptop and other items.
According to court records, the computer was equipped with a LoJack recovery system and police were able to track the equipment to an apartment on Knox Street in Lewiston. The tenants of that apartment said they bought the laptop from Epps for $150, but that Epps had instructed them to tell police that Romeo Parent gave him the laptop.
Parent was killed in April; four men have been charged in his death.
According to a police affidavit, “Parent was associated with Epps and his group of friends,” and Epps allegedly told the laptop buyer on April 8 that “Parent was at the bottom of the 'Andro' (Androscoggin River) thus he would not be able to be interviewed . . . because dead guys can’t talk.”
Parent's body was found April 12 in Jug Stream, just below the dam that separates Annabessacook and Cobbosseecontee lakes in Monmouth.
In an affidavit filed with the Androscoggin County Superior Court by State Police Detective Randall Keaten, the men charged with killing Parent told police the sheets used to wrap Parent's body came from Epps’ apartment.
In addition to the jail term imposed Tuesday, Epps was ordered to pay $1,071.83 in restitution, plus court costs. He will be permitted to establish a payment plan once he is released from jail.
On Aug. 13, the day Epps was arrested on the most recent probation violation, Lewiston police had gone to the Bartlett Street apartment he shares with his wife, Jessica Reilly Epps, and their children. According to the arrest affidavit, Reilly Epps and two of the children were home and the apartment was “found to be extremely dirty with the bathroom area covered in what appeared to be vomit and feces on the toilet and floor.”
Police contacted the Department of Health and Human Services and the children were removed from the home later that week.
Reilly Epps told the Sun Journal the vomit in her apartment was there because she and her daughter had been sick the day before and she hadn’t had time to clean it up.
On Aug. 15, after reading the Sun Journal report of Epps’ arrest, Reilly Epps contacted the newspaper to say that her children had not been removed from her home because of Epps. They had been removed, she said, because someone reported to DHHS that she offered to sell her youngest daughter, who was born in March.
According to the woman who received the offer, the price was $2,000.
Reilly Epps’ oldest child, 13-year-old Brody Covey, is facing charges of arson in a fire April 29 that burned three downtown Lewiston buildings. Covey, who had been held at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland pending trial, has since been placed in a therapeutic residential foster home.
Charles Epps has criminal histories in Maine and Florida. His first conviction was in Florida in 2000 when he was 19 years old. He was fined $20 on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
He was arrested 14 more times in Florida between 2000 and 2005, and convicted of domestic violence, armed robbery, carrying a concealed weapon and violating probation. A number of other charges were dismissed.
In Maine, his criminal history begins in 2011 with a conviction of theft, followed by convictions of criminal mischief and theft through 2013.
In July, a Michigan man filed a complaint with the Madison Heights Police Department, which is near Detroit, alleging that Epps had fraudulently used the man’s name and Social Security number to set up a utility account with Central Maine Power for service at 109 Blake St., the Epps family’s previous address and one of the buildings destroyed by fire on April 29.
According to the complaint, Epps used the man’s identity to set up an account for service in September 2012. That account was closed eight months later for nonpayment; CMP has instigated collection action against the Michigan man for payment of $437, which he has declined to pay.
Contacted by phone, the Michigan man said that he and Epps had been roommates years ago and Epps had access to the man's personal information.