ELLSWORTH — William Morse, the Trenton man accused of killing another Trenton man who last was seen alive a year ago, had been passing himself off as the dead man, according to a police affidavit filed in Hancock County Superior Court.

Morse, 43, is accused of killing Richard Bellittieri, 61, who was last seen alive in June 2012, Maine State Police have said. Police found Bellittieri’s remains last weekend, on Sunday, July 28, in the woods of a property deeded to Bellittieri on Goose Cove Road in Trenton.

According to the affidavit filed Thursday in court by Maine State Police Detective Thomas Pickering, an examination of Bellittieri’s remains by the Medical Examiner’s Office indicates that the dead man had four gunshot wounds — one near his right eyebrow, another to the right side of his cranium, a third in his right thigh and a fourth to his right foot. The affidavit, which has part of a sentence temporarily blacked out at the request of Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson, does not indicate whether police believe Bellittieri died from the wounds.

The document says that in the past few weeks, police have determined that Morse:

  • Has been driving a vehicle registered to Bellittieri.
  • Has been in possession of Bellittieri’s Social Security card, driver’s license and bank cards.
  • Passed himself off as Bellittieri in person to other people as well as possibly over the phone.
  • Is “the only person who claims to have seen or spoken with Richard Bellittieri within the past year.”

Morse was arrested Thursday in Ellsworth after police went to a home on Peakes Hill Road in Dedham to interview him about Belliettieri’s death. Morse, whom police had followed to the home, managed to elude police for a few hours after he walked away from the home unseen. He was spotted again by police some hours later at a store a couple of miles away in Holden and then was followed again when he got a ride with a friend. Police stopped the vehicle on Route 1A in Ellsworth and arrested Morse.

On Thursday morning, Morse was limping and wearing jail-issued clothing as he was led by Hancock County sheriff’s deputies into superior court to make his first appearance on the murder charge.

Morse did not enter a plea to the murder charge. He also is facing three unrelated misdemeanors — operating a motor vehicle after suspension, illegal attachment of plates, and violating conditions of release — to which he pleaded not guilty on Friday.

Morse remained silent during the hearing with the exception of saying “yes” twice in a clear voice to Justice Kevin Cuddy. The judge asked Morse if his listed date of birth was correct, and if he had a chance to discuss the murder allegation with his defense attorney, Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth.

During the brief hearing, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson and Toothaker told Cuddy that they agreed to waive setting a date for a hearing to determine probable cause and bail for Morse. Toothaker told the judge he reserved the right to request a hearing at some point and that he expected the murder charge to be presented to a Hancock County grand jury either later this month or in October.

Toothaker said after the hearing that, for now, his client will be held indefinitely at Hancock County Jail. He said Morse was on his way to Toothaker’s office in Ellsworth when he was stopped and arrested on Thursday.

Police have declined to comment on how or when Morse is believed to have killed Bellittieri or to say how the two men knew each other. A former tenant of Bellittieri’s told the Bangor Daily News on Thursday that Morse did odd jobs for Bellittieri, including carpentry work on a building that was under construction at Bellittieri’s Goose Cove Road property.


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