men charged

with murder

LEWISTON – Two Lewiston men were arrested Thursday night in the slaying of 82-year-old James McManus, whose body was found Wednesday morning in the trunk of his Buick.

The slaying has connections to a burglary in Franklin County earlier this year.

Police arrested David Lakin, 22, of 164 Bartlett St., and Shawn Melvin Tuttle, 21, of 35 Wood St. Each was charged with murder.

Investigators believe the two men killed McManus and then stuffed him into the trunk of his car. The relationship between the three men was not clear although it was believed they were acquainted before the slaying.

Police did not say where the killing took place. However, investigators believe the two suspects were in the car late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning on Route 4 north of Auburn.

McManus’ body was found in the trunk of the car while it was parked at the side of Horton Street. The car was believed to have been there only a short time.

McManus’ Buick was the same car used in a heist in January during which two floor safes were stolen from a burned home in Avon, police said.

Lakin was arrested in that heist after Franklin County Sheriff’s officials found the Buick stuck at the side of the road near the area of the burglary. The car was out of gas.

Lakin was charged with burglary and theft in the break-in at his uncle’s burned out home on Avon Valley Road. Three others from Lewiston were also charged.

At the time, police impounded the Buick and removed one of the safes and other evidence from the burglary. It was later returned to McManus, who was not present when the other men were arrested.

On Wednesday, there were still evidence stickers from that police inspection on the Buick when local investigators arrived after receiving a report there was a body in the trunk.

Lewiston and Maine State Police began speaking with people involved in the burglary as well as others who knew McManus. By early Thursday, investigators had developed suspects in the killing.

Lakin and Tuttle were approached by police early in the day and the two men agreed to go to the police department for questioning. The men were arrested at about 6 p.m. No more arrests are expected.

An autopsy performed on McManus’ body Thursday was enough to tell police the 82-year-old had been intentionally slain. However, it was still unclear exactly what caused the death, according to State Police Sgt. Walter Gryzb.

It was also unclear how and why the car ended up on Horton Street where neighbors had seen it parked in the past.

“We need to figure out what relevance that area has,” Gryzb said.

Neighbors said the car was moved several times earlier this week around the time the slaying may have been committed.

“It was moved around the block several times Tuesday night and into the following morning,” said Jill Peddle, who lives on Horton Street. “It was in a driveway across the street and in different locations.”

Investigators were joined by agents from the Central Maine Violent Crime Task Force as they searched for the suspects. Several homes were searched, including McManus’ apartment at 18 Blake St.

It was not disclosed what was found at the Blake Street home. McManus had recently moved there after living in various locations in Lewiston and Auburn.

Police in both cities were familiar with the 82-year-old. He had recently been convicted on charges of theft and passing bad checks. In Lewiston, McManus was known to hang around with people much younger than himself, some of them drug users.

In Auburn, McManus once lived at Old Carriage Estates, where police were frequently called to his home for reports of parties and other problems. Those who know McManus say he occasionally suffered beatings at the hands of young people who frequented his home.

At his Blake Street apartment in Lewiston, neighbors said McManus was often visited by younger people but they did not recall loud parties there. Friends described him as an alcoholic in poor health.

Police first learned that there was a body in the Buick Wednesday when they received a telephone call. The identity of the caller has not been disclosed and investigators did not say whether or not it was Tuttle or Lakin.

On Horton Street, residents were exchanging details and trying to determine if anyone knew the two suspects or anything more about the crime.

“Everyone is still talking about it around here,” Peddle said.

Investigators were specifically interested in knowing more about what the two suspects may have been doing in McManus’ car on Route 4. With that in mind, they were asking that anyone who may have seen the dark blue, 1989 Buick Century call State Police at 1-800-228-0857.

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