WARREN — A prisoner serving 50 years for the murder of an Auburn man died Saturday about 2:45 p.m. at the Maine State Prison.

Willard Eastman, 63, had served approximately 21 years of the sentence, according to a statement released by Deputy Commissioner Jody Breton of the State of Maine Department of Corrections.

Following the Attorney General’s Office protocols, the State Police and the Medical Examiner were notified and are reviewing the death.

Eastman, along with Dana A. Craney, was convicted in 1994 for the murder and robbery of furniture auctioneer Leon Michaud, 73, whose body was found in a culvert along a rural road in Auburn on Dec. 20, 1990, according to Bangor Daily News online archives.

Michaud, who died of multiple bullet wounds, went missing on Dec. 17, 1990, after cashing checks totaling more than $1,400. His truck was found abandoned at Shop ‘N Save in Auburn. Eastman and Craney were arrested in May 1993. Eastman, formerly of Auburn, resided in Lexington, N.C. at the time of his arrest.

Following the trial and two days of deliberation, the jury found Eastman and Craney guilty of murder and robbery. They faced a minimum sentence of 25 years. Eastman received a 50-year sentence and Craney a 60-year sentence.

Appeals by the men to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court were rejected in 1995 and an appeal to federal court was denied in 2009.

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