AUBURN – Richard Dwyer pleaded not guilty Thursday to raping, robbing and killing a pregnant woman whose body was discovered in Lewiston last month three weeks after she disappeared.

Dwyer, 44, of Canton appeared in Androscoggin County Superior Court after a grand jury handed up indictments charging him with the felonies. A judge denied Dwyer bail at a hearing earlier in the day.

Dwyer also pleaded not guilty to a robbery charge stemming from an unrelated incident.

Dwyer was arrested Nov. 20 and charged with murder in the killing of Donna Paradis, 38, of Lewiston. Her family was in court Thursday to watch the proceedings.

Paradis, who was 7 months pregnant when she was killed, was hoping to buy a car Dwyer had apparently found for her, police said. Dwyer and Paradis were co-workers at Affiliated Computer Services on East Avenue in Lewiston.

Thursday’s indictment alleges Dwyer compelled Paradis to have sex with him on Oct. 23, the day she was killed. Another count charges him with robbing her that same day by inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily injury.

At a probable cause hearing Thursday, a state police detective said Paradis went to a local bank, where she withdrew four $100 bills to pay for the used car Dwyer had found for her. He was captured on a security camera at about 7 p.m. that day, paying with a $100 bill for a shovel and a flashlight at a local Lowe’s store. That shovel was found near Paradis’ burial site. The flashlight was recovered from his girlfriend’s car in Lewiston, where he went later that night, said Maine State Police Detective Jennifer King.

He went to Wal-Mart shortly before 8:30 p.m. and bought a pickax, police said.

During a search of the area, police found Paradis’ body in a shallow grave among cement slabs near an all-terrain vehicle trail. The trail was on a hillside behind a Staples store off Lisbon Street.

Dwyer’s lawyer, George Hess, quizzed King on the witness stand about forensic analysis of physical evidence from the scene, including fingerprints. King said the state’s analysis in the case wasn’t complete.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese pointed to Dwyer’s lengthy criminal history, including several failures to appear in court on charges and one instance of escape from Maine State Prison.

Hess argued his client should be freed on bail because all analysis of evidence in the case hadn’t been concluded and Dwyer’s court lapses weren’t recent, but dated back to the 1980s.

Marchese pointed out that Dwyer had been in jail or prison most of his adult life.

Justice Thomas Delahanty II said there was probable cause linking Dwyer to the alleged murder and ordered him held without bail, noting his criminal record not only makes him a flight risk but also a threat to the community, given his likelihood to commit another crime if freed.

Delahanty also ordered Dwyer to supply a blood sample to be used in forensic analysis in the case. The judge gave both sides two months to present motions in the case.

Dwyer also was indicted on a robbery charge in connection with a Sept. 17 incident at a Big Apple in which he allegedly threatened a cashier with a knife.


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