A convict who held hostages in Arizona was born in Lewiston.

PHOENIX (AP) – In 1993, Steven Coy’s presentencing officer described him as “the personification of society’s worst nightmare.” He recommended sentencing Coy “to a term that would guarantee he would never be in a position to exert his predatory nature on society again.”

Coy, who was born in Lewiston, Maine, was sentenced to life, but he still managed to again prey upon his community, this time in the prison where he was serving his time.

Coy was one of two inmates who held two correctional officers hostage in a guard tower at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye.

He and inmate Ricky Wassenaar held a female officer captive until Sunday; a male officer was released Jan. 24.

Both have asked to be incarcerated outside Arizona as part of the deal to let the guards go. Coy will be transferred to a prison in his native Maine with Wassenaar going to a prison in Wisconsin, authorities said.

Maine Gov. John Baldacci said Tuesday that at the request of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, his state agreed to accept Coy on a temporary basis while criminal charges and other issues are resolved.

“It was the right thing to do,” Baldacci said. “The state made a necessary decision to help Governor Napolitano end a hostage situation that was putting Arizona corrections employees’ lives at risk.”

In return for Coy, Arizona will accept a high-risk, high-security inmate from Maine, a swap that will result in no added cost to Maine, Baldacci said.

Coy will be housed in a maximum security unit where procedures in place will ensure that Maine correctional officers are not at risk, he said.

While Wassenaar took control of the tower on Jan. 18, Coy confronted other guards and then escaped into the armed fortress.

Prison officials several times described the negotiations as volatile. That description fit Coy’s own life.

After leaving Maine, Coy moved to Arizona some time around 1982. Within a year, he had committed his first burglary, the first in a string of felonies he committed.

Coy’s earlier crimes were variations on the same theme: theft, burglary, criminal damage, drug possession. He was in the Arizona State Prison system from 1986 until his release in 1991.

After that, his crimes became more violent.

On May 20, 1991, Coy crashed a stolen 1976 Corvette while fleeing from police. During the chase, he ran two red lights, driving more than 75 mph.

At the time, a presentencing officers wrote that Coy was “a hardened recidivist whose criminal behavior has been undeterred by all previous sanctions.”

Their prediction was that Coy was “an unacceptably high risk to the community.”

Coy was sentenced to intense probation.

Two years later, he went on a crime spree in Tucson, committing armed robbery, kidnapping, sexual abuse, sexual assault and aggravated assault.

The spree began on Feb. 12, 1993, when he robbed a store clerk while wearing a wig and makeup to make himself appear black. According to court records, Coy shocked the clerk several times with a stun gun and shot the man in the stomach with a pistol.

As the clerk lay on the floor pleading for his life, Coy held a gun to his head. The man produced $1,600 and Coy fled.

On Feb. 23, Coy walked into a dental office at lunch time and robbed the front office worker. Records say he dragged her to a bathroom at gunpoint. Coy told her to lock herself in, and then left.

The next day, Coy robbed and raped a 34-year-old woman working alone at a business. Witnesses identified Coy’s wife as the getaway driver.

At the time Coy was married to his second wife, Mary Jane Coy, who was eight months pregnant and was using heroin, according to court documents. They already had a daughter, a toddler at the time.

The two were arrested a couple of weeks later as they shopped at a central Tucson drugstore.

According to court records, Coy at one time told court officials that treatment programs weren’t intense enough and that he needed more help than others.

After his arrest for the stolen car, Coy wrote to the Pima County attorney’s office that he needed to be more than rehabilitated; he said he needed to be “habilitated.”

AP-ES-02-03-04 1630EST

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