Son gets 7 years for Auburn robbery of woman who was tied up at gunpoint

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AUBURN — A 20-year-old local man who, with his father, tied up a Park Avenue homeowner at gunpoint and stole her SUV and motorcycle a year ago, was sentenced Tuesday to serve seven years in prison.

John Michaud II was sentenced to 15 years in prison with eight years suspended, plus four years of probation for robbery, a crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis characterized Michaud’s acts as “depravity” and “wicked.”

After breaking into sobs, Tina Croteau, the victim of the robbery committed by Michaud and his namesake father told the judge in Androscoggin County Superior Court that the duo “terrorized me” in her home and made her feel unsafe there ever since.

She called John Michaud Sr. “an idiot” career criminal who has spent a lifetime stealing from others. She said she hoped Michaud wouldn’t follow in his father’s footsteps and encouraged him to get a GED and read the Bible.

Matulis had argued for Michaud to spend eight years in prison; defense attorney Jason Ranger argued for five years. Michaud may appeal his sentence to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Justice MaryGay Kennedy settled on seven years after weighing mitigating and aggravating factors. 

Michaud and his father were ordered to pay $7,487.95 in restitution to Croteau’s insurance company and $1,029.91 to her, her husband and a neighbor whose home the Michauds had burglarized before moving on to Croteau’s house.

If Michaud were to violate any of the terms of his probation, he may be ordered to serve up to eight years of his suspended sentence, Kennedy told Michaud.

She imposed a sentence of four years in prison on a burglary charge that Michaud will serve at the same time as the robbery charge.

Other charges against him were dismissed.

Matulis recounted the facts of the Oct. 12, 2017 robbery.

When Michaud and his father broke into the Park Avenue house, Croteau was returning home for lunch. Masked, the two men approached her with a gun as she sat parked in her SUV in her garage on her phone with her mother. She was forced to disconnect the call and was marched into her home, bound with duct tape while lying on the floor, face down, Matulis said.

Michaud watched her while his father ransacked the house.

“Tina believed she was going to be shot,” Matulis said. “And she was actively wondering what it would feel like when they did shoot her and kill her.”

While she was lying on the floor, her hair had fallen around her face and “she felt as if she was suffocating,” Matulis said.

Before Michaud and his father stole her SUV and motorcycle, the elder Michaud “tried to get her wedding ring off.”

Father and son fled to Florida, but along the way sold items stolen from Croteau’s home. During Michaud’s capture in Florida, he was carrying a gun with “obscured” serial numbers, Matulis said.

After serving time for that crime, he returned to Maine to face charges stemming from the robbery of Croteau’s home.

The Michauds’ decision to rob Croteau’s home involved a “moral corruption of wickedness,” Matulis said.

“While it’s bad enough to burglarize residences, there came a time for a choice while they were in there and Tina came home and the choice they made was to do something wicked rather than to run, to flee,” he said.

Michaud told the judge: “I messed up and for that I apologize.”

His mother, Lori, told Croteau she was sorry for what she’d been through.

She said her son wasn’t a career criminal, but made poor choices in “huge part” because of substance abuse.

“My son is not a monster,” she said. “He has a kind heart.”

She said she failed him as a mother but has faith he can be successfully rehabilitated.

After two days at trial, John Michaud Sr., 51, of Lewiston agreed to a sentence of 15 years with five years suspended, plus four years of probation for robbery. 

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John Michaud II, 20, apologizes at his sentencing in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn on Tuesday. Michaud’s attorney, Jason Ranger, is at left. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis addresses the court during the sentencing for John Michaud II, right, in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn on Tuesday. Michaud’s attorney, Jason Ranger, is next to Michaud. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

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