PORTLAND — The second of two brothers facing federal firearms charges stemming from a November 2015 hunting incident in Paris pleaded guilty Wednesday before a U.S. District Court judge.

Stephen Bean, 55, of West Paris and Paris, pleaded guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, before Judge D. Brock Hornby.

Bean could face up to 10 years in federal prison for each charge. He was released under the supervision of a federal probation and parole officer pending his sentencing Sept. 14.

Also this week, Paris Code Enforcement Officer Fred Collins Jr. sent Bean another letter serving notice that his Stock Pond Road camper was again in violation of the town’s sanitation codes. The town had previous sanitation issues with Bean after a neighbor complained Bean and visitors to his camper were defecating on the neighbor’s land.

“In respect to your blatant disregard for state and local government codes for proper sanitation for health and safety for you as well as for surrounding neighbors, it is imperative that this matter is immediately corrected by means of a portable toilet or proof of a sewage cleaning service with up-to-date receipts,” Collins wrote.

The charges Bean pleaded to Wednesday stem from a November 2015 hunting incident involving Bean, his younger brother, Andrew Bean, and David Foster, both of Paris. All three men have pleaded guilty to the federal charge of being felons in possession of firearms.

Both men also face additional charges in the state court system.

In the course of its investigation, the Warden Service determined the three men had fraudulently obtained Maine firearms hunting licenses. Because they are prohibited from possessing firearms, they were also ineligible to obtain firearms hunting licenses.

Stephen Bean has also been indicted by an Oxford County grand jury on charges of fraudulently obtaining a hunting license and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

Under Stephen Bean’s new conditions of release, as amended by Hornby on Wednesday, Bean is prohibited from using any drugs or alcohol. 

The string of state and federal indictments against the men has prompted officials and state lawmakers to consider possible changes to Maine’s hunting regulations and laws to prevent those prohibited from having firearms from being able to still apply for and receive a Maine firearms hunting license.

According to Maine’s criminal records database, Stephen Bean was convicted on a felony charge of operating after habitual offender revocation in 2006, after which he was barred from possessing a firearm. He was also convicted of operating under the influence in 2002 and of assault in 1992, both misdemeanors.

A check of Bean’s driving history shows a total of five OUI convictions, according to records with the Maine Department of Motor Vehicles.

Andrew Bean, 51, was also indicted by an Oxford County grand jury in December 2015 on charges of fraudulently obtaining a hunting license, criminal operating under the influence and a charge of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

Also indicted in December 2015 was Foster of South Paris, on charges of possessing a fraudulently obtained hunting license and possessing a firearm by a prohibited person.

Andrew Bean was also indicted by an Oxford County grand jury on a second criminal OUI charge that stemmed from an arrest Dec. 20, 2015, after he posted bail on the weapons charge. In the most recent indictment, Andrew Bean was also charged with illegally attaching plates and violating conditions of release.

The Beans and Foster were among five who were being investigated for trespassing by the Maine Warden Service, which had received complaints from landowners who had posted their land against hunting in 2015, including neighbor Troy Ripley.

In 2006, Ripley’s 17-year-old daughter, Megan, was shot to death by another Bean brother, Timothy, in a hunting incident. 

Timothy Bean pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in that case and was given a two-year suspended sentence.

Since that incident, Troy Ripley has said members of Timothy Bean’s family, including Stephen and Andrew, have persisted in trespassing to hunt on his property and the property of neighbors.

On Thursday, Ripley said he was pleased Stephen and Andrew Bean were being prosecuted and hoped it would mean jail time for them.

“On Dec. 7, 2006, Timothy Bean’s criminal negligent behavior imposed a life sentence with no chance for parole upon our family,” Ripley said Thursday.

“His brothers’ actions since have been void of human decency and ensured the wound stays open and raw,” Ripley said. “Hopefully, the federal judges will include all mitigating circumstances in determining the number of years in a cage these lifelong criminals need to spend.

“While in the federal prison system … without the distractions of personal freedom and liberty, Steven and Andy have a wonderful opportunity to do some self-reflecting on their lives and the actions that got them there.” 

David Van Dyke, Stephen Bean’s court-appointed attorney, said he couldn’t comment on his client’s case because he was still facing unresolved charges in the state court system.


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