| I STAY IN CONTACT WITH THE SARGENT BROTHERS
February 19, 1988, Richard rgent filed a lawsuit against DA Christopher Almy and MSP Det. Shuman, he also surrendered to the authorities to start serving his 14-year sentence. The BDN reported, the weekend of February 20–21, 1988, that Richard Sargent had filed a lawsuit and that “a prosecutor and a state police sergeant were named as defendants in the $10 million lawsuit. Richard Sargent claimed his civil rights were violated when State Police Barry Shuman and DA Almy covered up the facts of a 1981 murder.”
His legal action claimed, “both Mr. Shuman and Mr. Almy were aware of Paul Pollard’s involvement in a murder and arson, in which they cover up, to secure my conviction, in doing so violated my constitutional rights.”
Almy said the legal action was “ludicrous.” And that it was “typical of somebody who’s been convicted and is going to state prison.” Shuman would not comment on the allegations.
Richard claimed Shuman perjured himself while testifying against him in his July 1986 robbery trial.
The report said that “since the murder and arson charges were dropped, Sargent had joined forces with Leola Cochran, the dead man’s mother, in seeking to prove that authorities knew Pollard was involved in the arson-murder.”
This was Sargent’s second lawsuit in a year leveling allegations against Maine law-enforcement authorities. June 4,1987, Richard had filed suit against Shuman, Pinkham, and Michael Pratt, Maine State Police DEA Agents.
"Richard said that through the lawsuit he hoped 'to see that Micheal Cochran's murderer is brought to justice.'"
My first letter from Richard was written the day he was incarcerated at Maine State Prison. He wrote that he was in protective custody because Lionel Cormier wanted to kill him. Cormier wanted Richard to stop accusing him of Mike’s murder. He said the authorities were aware of it. He sent a copy of a document showing that he had been placed in protective custody.
He said while he was at the jail, he had an interview with MSP Det. Matthew Stewart (detective under Shuman’s supervision) and the conversation was recorded. Richard said Stewart seemed interested, but said the only real piece of evidence was what Cormier said about Mike’s body being found in the fire while he and Pollard were at his mother’s home on the morning of the fire. He said Stewart wanted copies of his recorded conversations. But he didn’t think he would turn them over to Stewart. Why did the state police need them again anyhow?
Richard had given me copies of the recorded conversations of him and Cormier talking about Mike’s murder. And I had sent them to the Virginia State Police (state where Pollard lived) and they sent them to the Maine State Police. I also gave them to Assistant AG Goodwin at the grand jury in 1987.
He asked me to copy the latest documents he had sent and mail them back to him with Shuman’s address. He wanted me to tell Bucky Buchanan, his investigator, about the meeting he had with Stewart.
On the 21st of February, I contacted Percy Sargent. He was on furlough from Maine State Prison and was at his ex-wife's residence in Augusta. Since I had last spoken with him in April of 1986 he was almost done serving his prison time for the 1980 rape, 1981 drug trafficking and the armed robbery.
He was no longer asking for Micheal’s family to contact the authorities to let them know that no one had talked with him about Micheal’s murder. He had also changed his mind about Cormier and Pollard murdering Micheal. He now had a different story.
My conversation with Percy Sargent
Another letter from Richard on March 4, 1988, said that his sister Linda Harriman was going to send him a statement of Cormier saying to watch the news because they’re going to find a body in a fire at his mother’s home the morning Mike was murdered, February 18, 1981.
March 30, 1988, he wrote that the Judge (?) had denied his motion for a new trial and he had combined his two lawsuits.
“I hope someday I can get Shuman on that witness stand in Federal Court. I’ll tear him apart. So[me] how we will expose this cover-up and we will see Pollard behind bars.” He said his sister Linda “thinks that I got them this time.” (That was 33 years ago and we were never able to get the State of Maine to pay attention to the unethical things we believed the state‘s law officials had done concerning Mike’s murder.)
Richard said the lawsuit that I was ready to file against Paul Pollard, Owen Pollard, and Robert Smith “might put the heat on the state police.” He said, “Bob Smith knows more than he’s saying.” And he said that he “also got another letter from Percy and he tells me the police did it and he tries to cover-up the facts that I sent him. All of a sudden Percy is changing his story and saying that the police did it. That’s not what he said on that tape. I think he is worried about something. There are a lot of people that don’t want this to come out. But as long as we keep fighting them we will get this out in the open.”
Richard wanted me to provide his attorney with any documents I had concerning Pollard firing five bullets into Walter Young’s home and why the charges were dismissed. The information I had concerning the reckless conduct I could send Richard. But the information I had concerning why Pollard’s reckless conduct charge was dismissed I couldn’t send to him because PI Buchanan had told me when he gave me his investigation report not to give it to anyone. In the report it stated “Case dismissed on recommendations of Shuman because ‘Pollard had information re Cochran murder,’ according to Sgt. Glen Ross, Penobscot Sheriff’s Office, investigating officer. Information re this charge was not turned over to Richard Sargent’s defense in either Murder or Robbery discovery.” Buchanan told me that after the indictment was dismissed, Shuman said Pollard knew nothing.
Richard said, “One other thing [that] bugs me ... iis what Percy said about the gas cans on the 26th or there about. How did Percy know at that time that it was set a fire with gas [?] He sure does [knows] more than he [is] saying, and that [bs] about the police doing it. I wrote him a letter telling him I know who did it and stated the facts. I don’t care if he likes it or not.”
April of 1986, two years previous, I received a letter from Percy Sargent and in his letter he accused Cormier and Pollard of Mike’s murder and he also accused them when he spoke on the phone with Derry and me. But that was before the 1986 armed robbery trials and he didn't know how that was going to turn out. Percy had plea bargained the Feb. 18, 1981 drug charges and the judge went easy on him with only a 2 year sentence that ran concurrent with his rape charge. And for the armed robbery he plea bargained again and his five-year sentence run concurrent with the remainder of his 1980 eight-year rape conviction.
But there was now a feud going on between the Sargent brothers. Richard was sentenced to 14 years in prison and had just started serving his time, but his brother Percy was almost done serving his time for rape, drug trafficking, and armed robbery. Richard wanted Percy to help him convince the authorities that Cormier and Pollard were guilty of Mike’s murder, but Percy refused regardless of his brother being falsely accused of Mike’s murder. Percy knew if he talked against Cormier and Pollard now, they could turn on him and reveal his part in Mike’s murder. He wasn’t going to open up that can of worms now that he was almost done serving his prison time.
Richard continued to write letters, letting me know what was going on with him and his struggle with his brother Percy and the State of Maine law officials. He wanted the AG’s office to look at what he believed he had that would show Lionel Cormier and Paul Pollard murdered Mike.
October 27, 1988, Richard wrote that Percy is not talking and won’t talk. I do have something I have never told anyone. Shortly after the fire, Lionel and Pollard and Percy came to my motel room in Auburn, that was the same day that they went to Rhode Island. And what was said there at my motel room could possibly bring the three to court for your son’s murder. I don’t like hanging my own brother.
See Pollard’s statement on Feb. 12, 1985, he admits that they stopped there. I would not let them stay there. I hate putting the finger on my brother, but he don’t care about me. Richard also said he had written a letter to the Attorney General asking him to come see him. He said he wanted to find out if they were interested in his information. He said, “I sure am not going to tell the state police this because they would not do anything about it.” He said he would let me know if the AG’s Office got back in touch with him.
He ended his letter saying "As you know Percy was the one that made that call. I am tired of protecting him. He will be released in six months and he could care less if I sit here for seven more years. There was something said in that motel room and Percy knows it. But will they [the authorities] believe me. We will see. If Percy was smart he would tell what he knows.
November 2, 1988, Richard wrote saying “I hope by now my sister has been in touch with you about the affidavit that Lionel sent her. ... [T] are some interesting things things in it. ...
Cormier had written his affidavit while incarcerated at Walpole Prison in Springfield, Massachusetts on the 1st of October 1988. In Cormier’s affidavit he tells many facts about his and Pollard’s actions the night Mike was murdered and afterward. I also received a copy of a November 1, 1988 letter Cormier had written to Linda when he sent her his affidavit. I don’t remember if I received this letter from Linda or from Richard. I think I received it from Richard.
Dearest Linda,In the same letter Richard wrote "I really hate getting Percy mixed up in this. But he sure don’t care about me. What was said that day in the motel (Cormier did the talking) was that Cochran was taken care of and he wouldn’t be doing any talking. I told them that I didn’t want anything to do with murder. They got mad and left. They wanted Pollard to hide out at my place.
Private Investigator's report
I FILE SUIT AGAINST PAUL POLLARD, ET AL
April 1988, 33 years ago, my youngest son Shawn (seventeen years old) and I drove to Portland, Maine (180 miles south of Bangor) where I filed a Complaint Pro Se in Cumberland County Superior Court for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress against Paul Pollard, Owen Pollard, and Robert Smith.
It wasn’t until I received Percy Sargent's letter in 1986, and attended the arm robbery trials that I knew how involved Paul Pollard was in Mike’s murder. Detectives Pinkham, Shuman and Goodwin and Assistant AG Goodwin had told me that Pollard was not involved and he would have also died if he hadn't escaped. I knew he was in the cottage with Mike, and that the fire chief had seen him fleeing the murder scene wiping his hands. But I was told he was afraid and would have dies too if he hadn't escaped. I now knew that wasn't true.
Attorney Harris brought out in court that Pollard had a .357 gun on him when he fled into the woods and Percy Sargent had told my oldest son, Derry, that Pollard shot Mike and Cormier told Richard Sargent the same thing. I discussed it with my attorney and he believed I had a good case against Paul Pollard. But thought I should start the suit myself. We also added Owen Pollard, and Robert Smith to the lawsuit. Smith had bailed Pollard from jail and loaned his car for him to flee the state and after Paul arrived out of the state he called Owen to tell him a man died. Owen told him to come home and we will take care of it.
The Complaint was served on Smith at the Men’s Correctional Center in South Windham where he was serving time for the March 1981 Dolan robbery. But in order to serve the Complaint on Owen Pollard and Paul Pollard, I had to get their out of state addresses. (Owen Pollard also left the State of Maine immediately after Richard Sargent, Roger Johnson, and William Meyers were arrested for Mike’s murder.) I was able to get their new addresses from the U.S. Post Office—I have been told that I would not be able to do that today.
On April 26, 1988, I received an Affidavit of Non-Service on Paul Pollard: “Resident Manager stated subject moved—left no forwarding address.” After my last phone contact with Paul Pollard in June 1987, he had moved to another residence and left no forwarding address.
On May 4, 1988, Robert Smith’s attorney, Peggy B. Gilbert, and Pollard’s attorney, Marvin Glazier, submitted identical Motions to Dismiss claiming that Pursuant to 14 M.R.S.A § 752, all civil actions must be commenced within six years of the cause of action accruing, or be time barred. It was now more than seven years since Mike’s brutal murder. But I had discovered that the statute didn’t begin to run until time of discovery.
Both attorneys stated: “The Plaintiff has improperly laid venue in Cumberland County, as neither the Defendants nor the Plaintiff reside in Cumberland County. The cause of action did not accrue in Cumberland County. The claim is time barred by the statute of limitation.”
My lawsuit in Cumberland County was dismissed on October 25, 1988. Judge G. Arthur Brennan’s Decision and Order stated:
The issue to be determined in the instant case is whether venue is properly laid in Cumberland County, where one of the party defendants was temporarily incarcerated at the time of filing. That defendant has since been transferred to the Kennebec County Pre-Release Center. For reasons discussed in this decision, the plaintiff’s suit is dismissed without prejudice to permit her to re-file in an appropriate venue. Accordingly, other issues raised by this motion are not reached and may be raised again if the action is re-filed.I was taking classes for paralegal studies at the time I filed my lawsuit. When I arrived for class one evening the instructor gave me a copy of a Maine lawyer’s newspaper that had reported my case:
COCHRAN V. POLLARD, POLLARD, & SMITH Plaintiff sought to bring a tort action against [Robert] Smith pertaining to the death of her son, Micheal Cochran, Smith being temporarily incarcerated at the Maine Correctional Center in Cumberland County at the time of the filing. However, the Court observed that Smith was not a county resident, and courts have generally held that “actions ... shall be brought when parties live in the state, in the county where [they] live, 14 M.R.S.A. §501. Moreover, the Court noted that courts, including the Law Court, have also generally held that the “domicile” of a prisoner remains unchanged for venue purposes during a period of involuntary confinement. Because Smith was not a Cumberland county resident and the underlying action did not happen in the county, the Court granted a motion by Smith to dismiss. However, the Court granted that motion without prejudice to allow Cochran to file in the appropriate forum.RICHARD SARGENT REPORTS HIS DEFENSE ATTORNEY
The fall of 1988, Richard Sargent reported his defense attorney J. Hilary Billings to Maine Bar Association for not revealing Paul Pollard’s reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon indictment during his representation of Richard in his July 1986 armed robbery trial. Attorney Billings was an Assistant DA under Penobscot County DA David Cox and was involved in Pollard’s bail hearing.
I have misplaced Defense Attorney Hilary Billing's letter to J. Scott Davis, Maine Bar Counsel. I typed the information from his letter sometime ago. I have the letter Richard received from the Maine Bar Counsel. Richard gave me copies of both letters but I have misplaced the one Mr. Billings wrote to the Maine Bar.
Billings letter tells of his struggle to overcome Shuman and other state police DEA officer’s unethical behavior while representing Richard Sargent.
In Billings letter he says "it was alleged that Richard Sargent and two other individuals caused the death of one Micheal Cochran by burning the camp in which he was sleeping."
In Fire Marshal Wilbur Ricker's deposition he testified that Shuman and Pinkham said Mike was up in bed and fell down from his upstairs bed during the fire. Ricker said he told them that there was no way. He was on the floor before the fire started. He wasn’t upstairs and that he was willing to fight over that.
RICHARD SARGENT REQUESTS PERMISSION TO PRESENT EVIDENCE TO GRAND JURY
December 27, 1988, Richard Sargent had a hearing before Judge Herbert T. Silsby, II, Justice of the Superior Court in Ellsworth, requesting permission to appear before the Hancock County Grand Jury for the purpose of offering evidence against Paul Pollard and Lionel Cormier for Mike’s murder.
Richard had informed me of his hearing date and I intended to be there. I watched the weather report to make sure there was no snow predicted for that day before I drove the fifty miles to Ellsworth, which is toward the Maine coast with no Interstate Highway. The road goes past a secondary road that leads into Phillips Lake, where Mike was murdered. As I drive past, I always think of how Mike and Linda drove in to that lake and then about how Mike was brought out in a body bag.
I safely reached the Ellsworth court and found a seat in the courtroom. I was unable to speak with Richard as he was with security from Maine State Prison who had brought him to his hearing.
Hearing to present evidence to grand jury