Fire Inspector Wilbur Ricker's January 8, 1990 deposition  

Mr. Popkin: “I want to start at the beginning of what you remember about that Lucerne fire in February 1981.”
     “Well, sometime in the early morning hours between 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning, I received a telephone call at my home, and I don’t remember for sure who called me, but it was from the directions of Norm Herrin the Fire Chief, and said he had a fire at Lucerne   and requested my presence as soon as possible. And I started to pick up, get my things together, get both eyes open the telephone rang again. That was a call from my boss Mr. Bissette in Augusta and he told me that he wanted me to come to Bangor immediately because they had a fatal fire with at least two dead and wanted me to report up here.”  2
    “So I had to come right by Lucerne, so I went in there and found Norm Herrin and his firemen at the scene. ... I’ve worked with Norm over the years, and I knew when he called me, he wanted me. ... As I drove up to the scene there was fire equipment, there was several men. The first thing I can remember is Norman coming over to me. ... [he] told me that he was glad I was there, and he showed me two, five gallon gas cans, and I noticed that the building was burned pretty well. The walls were laying out ... the firemen were still putting some water on it. ... There was no more structural burning, I don’t think, that took place after I got there. ... I was trying to find out what I could and follow my boss’s instructions and get to Bangor to the fatal fire.

Ricker Investigated thousands of fires

Attorney Michael Popkin asked Inspector Ricker: “Over these 40 years that you investigated fires, could you give us any kind of estimate of how many fires you’ve investigated?”
     “I wouldn’t dare to estimate. I’ve always answered within the thousands.”
     “And have you testified as an expert witness in criminal prosecutions in the State of Maine.”
     “I have.”
     “Can you give us any idea of about how many times you qualified as an expert under those circumstances?”
     “No. It would be hundreds because some years it might be 10 or 12 a year, sometimes might only be 3 or 4, but over that period of time it’s a lot of them.”

Pollard's tracks showed a left and right boot impression

“Norman pointed out that he’d seen somebody run from the scene. He showed me where, and I remember a little clearer on that because there was snow on the ground, not deep snow but plenty enough for tracking purposes, and he showed me a set of tracks leading, almost east, I believe, in compass direction or southeast, beyond the building heading out through the woods and then he pointed where he’d seen this something run and—or go and I went along looking at the tracks and I had a pair of Herman Survivors boots that were issued by the state, and I recall clearly of standing aside and make my print and look at that. ... I’m trying just to get an idea of the size.” Ricker said that the tracks were “very clear” and that he was “very clear, very sure” that there were “two boot prints, a left and a right impression and that there was nothing odd about them.”    3

Ricker turned tracks over to Deputy Sheriff Elmer Alto  

“... And there was a deputy sheriff, whether he got there before me or not, but I know he arrived, by the name of [Elmer] Alto. I know him pretty well. And I explained to him I had to get to Bangor, you know, I was up against it. The boss had sent me up here, and I knew we had fatal fires and here we’ve got a burned building with a fellow running from it. To be sure it needed investigation and looked bad to me, but priorities you had to take. “... I originally followed the tracks a considerable distance before I turned them over to Alto. It was practically a straight path right beyond the building, right beyond that garage, right straight out ... there was either a rock or a mound of snow I remember. ...and it come to that and it turned left, and I went just far enough to see it didn’t go around it, but it continued off to my left, which would be my opinion it’s out towards the main road.”   4

No investigation

Mr. Popkin asked, “In terms of what we are looking at here today and what comprises the fire marshal’s file, was there any investigation material besides Trooper Jamison’s log—that is not here today?”
     “I don't recall any investigation—you mean done by the state police or other agency?”
     “What I mean is materials that would be factual materials that might be pertinent to your opinions.”
     “The chemist report where they check the fingerprints—I was present when that was done. My daily reports that I made out every day—I destroyed after the statute of limitations run out on us, and when I checked Augusta, which I really wanted to get, they’d thrown their copies away after five years.   5
     I thought if I could get those, I’d have just like a diary of my day’s work, and they’re gone. So outside of these reports I’m licked that way.”

First visit to the arson/murder scene

"Now, going back to that first visit to the scene on the 18th of February in 1981, after you followed the tracks, what did you do next?
     “... I asked [Elmer Alto] being a Hancock County deputy, if he would take my place and follow those tracks and see what he could do with them because I had to go to Bangor. ...He was assistant fire chief and deputy for years. I asked him if he would—where I had to go to Bangor—would he continue on those tracks and see if he could find where they led to or get any information for me. [I don’t] recall anything else that night except seeing the general debris, the way the building had opened up and fell right out with the sides in all directions, and of course, the gasoline cans that he showed me, I checked and I asked Norman if he would take care of those because I didn’t want to take them with me, and I’d pick them up— get back whenever I could and asked him when the fire was cleaned up, to leave the scene alone and I’d come back and do what I could.” “After we got clear on the fire scene in Bangor [evening of February 18th]. [MSP Cpl. Allen] Jamison was with me.”   6
“We went down, and it was really too dark to really see much and I got the cans from Norman.”

Mike's girlfriend at arson/murder scene

“And another night that I went down by, it was too dark, and I found an automobile down there. I did turn the information between us over to the state police after we found the body, and that belonged to a lady friend, I guess, 7  and it was a Buick and the plate number—I just turned that over to them—and I can’t remember being down there any other time. I wasn’t there in any daylight where I could do anything, but I was going back and forth by and I could have stopped for something...”

Reasons for calling it arson

Ricker said his opinion that the fire was arson “was based on what I saw on the scene of the building opened up and the sides fell out. It indicates a terrible fuel load in the building. Then I took into consideration the gas cans sitting outside, somebody running from the scene of a burning building. There’s no other conclusion at that time. Usually [when the] fire department comes they run to them—they don’t run away from them.”
     Defense attorney Marvin Glazier loudly responded, “Objection! Objection!” Mr. Ricker just looked at him and laughed.

Heavy fuel load

Popkin asked Ricker to explain why walls falling out were an indication of a considerable fast burning fuel load inside a building.
     “If you’ve got a heavy fuel load in the building, and it could be anything that’s terribly flammable, it will make an awful hot fire. It sets it all over, and especially up high and goes right out through the roof and burns off your column beams and columns that go across and the supports so that your walls just drop out like that.” [Indicating how logs would fall]

Ricker starts his investigation six-days after arson

Inspector Ricker said that the 24th of February was the first day that he and Cpl. Allen Jamison returned to the Dedham murder scene to investigate the arson. “[I]t was a little while before noon because we met in Ellsworth, I think, and talked it over; and I think we made some telephone calls and tried to get a hold of [Elmer] Alto and get his report and see what he found out, and then we drove up.”   8   

Both doors locked in open position

Ricker testified that the inside door and the storm door were both locked in open  position. “It certainly would be the first chance that I had to get the dimensions of the building which we would for any report, general outline of it. ... We drew that out, and then begin to photograph usually around the area and just come to anything that might help us on the investigation, around the outside or the inside or anywhere in the building, and that was what I was starting to do. I remember I found—if you’re familiar, of course, with the combination doors. They have a hydraulic opener, and there’s a little piece that slides on it; you can lock it and leave it open if you’re going in and out of it, and several times I found those where they had left that open for some reason or other to set a fire. ...I found that out in front with the lock open, and there’s no way it could do it itself. ...Just like a shock absorber only when you pull it out, you slip a piece over and it will hold it open if you’re lugging your groceries in the house, you’ve got your hands full and you’re going to make two or three trips, you don’t want to try to open the door. It was laid out by the step open. The door was melted, aluminum door was just laying there.”

Ricker and State Police Trp. Allen Jamison discover Mike's body

““The next thing that I was curious about when I found that was, what about the inside door. So I went over and looked for the hinges, because when a building burns as a rule they don’t change. They’re either open or closed, you know, look for the hardware locks, tell whether the building was locked or open. ... I was down there right in the corner looking for those hinges when moving stuff trying to hunt real close there when I found what I thought first was a dog in the fire, and I said to Allen, I said, ‘did we have any reports of a dog in this house?’ 9 and he turned to me and he said, ‘Well, if it’s a dog, he’s got a human head and skeleton.’ [My son, my son Mike!!] Then I made it out. It was right there. The head was almost under my feet where I was working.”   
     "I immediately talked with Allen. I says, ‘Look, we’ve got problems. We don’t want TV reporters, and we don’t want a crowd here.’ I said, ‘Let’s stay off the radio.’ I said, ‘You take my car and go down to Norm’s house, which is just down the road, and get to the telephone and I’ll stay here and watch the scene and take my pictures.
     “The door stoop come into that sun porch on the front of the building, and the body was right near where the door swung with the head laying at little bit of an angle off here face down, and we measured it. I think Allen’s report shows it less than a foot, 5, 6, 7, 8 inches, something, right from the corner of this sill laying face down back that way. ... There was a place it looked to me as though an animal, a dog, had pulled the knee, the back of the leg up a little bit and that’s really what I saw first was what it looked like [My son Mike!] ... I observed this body was burned right into the— “I hate to go through this with his mother here.”
     I said, “I can go out.”
     Ricker said, “What?”
     I said again to that dear old man, “I will go out.”
     “I really think you might be more comfortable, and perhaps it would make me feel comfortable too.”   10
     Mr. Popkin said, “I would just like the record to reflect that he’s speaking to Mrs. Cochran. He feels more comfortable in testifying if she’s not present.”
     “You know, sometimes I think I know better for people than they do themselves. I’ve been through some of these myself.”  11
     Ricker continued, “I observed this body was terribly burned ...”   12
     “After it was picked up at the scene, iit was very clear to me that this body was on the floor prior to the fire because it was all clean, this square tile [flooring]. It was oh, a whitish buff color, and there was broken glass laying and no sign of fire at all, so I observed this at the time.”    13
     “But it looked to me like altogether too much heat for a one-story building burning down. If there had been a cellar and the body had gone down in and you had like a forge or a shop of red coals that stayed there and he was in it, why it would practically, you know, you’d find him all right, but it was worse, but this was quite bad for that. It struck me there had to be more than that porch burning down on it to do it. ... It would appear to me that there was more heat than there should have been from a building burning, yes. It could have been any type of accelerant on it. ... Basing it on everything I know about it, I think it’s more likely that there was something added to the body to cause that amount of damage, more than the building.”
     Popkin asked, “Well, in layman’s terms, are you saying that you think that it’s likely that someone poured some gasoline on this body?”   14
     “Yes. Well, actually, I do believe it, yes ... Some of them I’ve known that was poured on them, and it compares more to those than those that were just burned in a building. Yes, it did. ... If it falls in a burning pile of embers and they don’t extinguish it, that gets hot enough to melt iron stoves ... this was not in the cellar. It was on the floor that wasn’t burned under it, and if it had been a long-term fire, it should have burned under the floor more. You know, say the fire department didn’t come and that burned till morning, that floor wouldn’t have been clear under it. It would have eaten underneath after a while and that makes quite a difference whether the firemen extinguished it or not.”

Ricker identifies gas cans

Mr. Popkin asked Mr. Ricker what else he observed at the scene, and he started to explain when he remembered me and said, “Mrs. Cochran may want to come back in now.” After I returned to the deposition room Mr. Ricker identified Deposition Exhibit #15 & #16 as the two gas cans he took from the arson-murder scene.
     “[S]ometimes they withhold stuff at the lab for a few days, and then notify us to pick it up; and without my daily reports, I can’t be sure of it. They either come home with me or I picked them up over to Augusta later, but they were over there on the 19th and fingerprinted and samples taken out of them. They came back and been in my barn ever since.”   15

Ricker found a third gas can under back door

Ricker said after Cpl. Jamison had gone to Herrin’s to use the telephone, that he took his camera and started around the building “taking the views of the building and the road and the inside of what I found—and when I got down on the back of the building, I noticed another gas can which I have a picture of.... It was on the back of the building down below the door which had no stairs or anything to it ... it was close to what in my opinion was the doorway out and no stairs ... it would be like you had it there already to set in or you reached down and dropped it out or whatever.”  16

Vapor explosion

“As I walked around the building, of course, there was no windows left. I mean, they had either broken out or fallen out, but I did find glass several places that was clean white glass apparently broken window glass as well as that that was under the body, and there was no sign that there had been any fire prior to it.... if you get a fire in a house you build up heat to blow it out from a heat blast, it puts a film on it, just like it would color up your walls, before it would break ... But when they’re broken prior to any heat or fire, they’re clean glass, and those come out in a whole section usually if it’s a blast from LP or gasoline fumes. ... I’ve had a whole window blown out quite a few feet right in the frame and be there ... as I remember distinctly now, it was on both the driveway side ... which I remember I showed to Detective Shuman, I guess, that morning, either he or Sergeant Pinkham. And then there was more on the opposite side, which would be toward that garage, and that seemed to be the same way over there which the firemen fought hard to save that other building,  17 but the glass would have gone back in if they’d done it. It wouldn’t have been on the outside and that was clean, too.” 
     Popkin said, “Based on what you observed with the windows there, and the other observations you made, the walls falling out and whatnot and anything else that you want to add, do you have an opinion as to whether or not there was a vapor explosion at the commencement of this fire?”
     “My opinion—there was a good chance that there was one, from what I found there.”   19

 Ricker describes his photos  

“I’d like to basically run through the photographs. And at this point maybe Mrs. Cochran would like to leave again,” Popkin said.  20
     After I left the deposition room, Mr. Ricker described the photos he had taken of my dear son’s burned body with missing body parts. I was out of the deposition room much longer than the first time, before Attorney Popkin came to get me.

Murderers arrive at murder scene

 “Now, Bill, after you sent Corporal Jamison to make the phone call and you observed the glass and observed the body, what happened next?”
     “While [Jamison] was gone I heard an automobile coming. I was down by that picture I showed you of the can [by the back door]. ... I was taking that photo, I remember down in there, so I thought it was kind of quick for them to come back, so I said I guess I’ll wait a minute, and I stayed down behind there, and I heard a car stop out front. It was noisier than mine. So I walked up around in back of the building which was standing, the garage, stayed behind that and I saw two subjects get out of an old car and start walking up the walk and come up to the door.   21
     I let them get perhaps from here to that wall, and I didn’t want them to stay and I didn’t want them to know what I’d found, and so I just stepped right out from behind the [garage] in uniform, and they looked like two deer got caught under a jack lantern or something, and they kind of froze there and all I had was the piece of a film case and my pen. Everything was in the car. So I went over and asked them for identification, and I didn’t think they needed one of me. I was right in uniform, fire marshal’s uniform, and they gave me their names which I wrote on there. I just told them I was investigating a fire and I asked them what they were doing and—they just heard about the fire and they come up to look, and this was six days later, and so I asked them for identification, and they told me that they were Lionel Cormier ... and the other one was Percy Sargent from Monroe Road, Winterport.”  
     Ricker said he asked what they were there for and Cormier said “he was coming because he left a pair of skis. And I says, ‘Well, obviously if you did, you know, they’re gone.’ ... and so I asked Sargent, I said, ‘You didn’t stay here and do work here or something.’ He said, ‘I done a little work, but I didn’t stay here. But he says, ‘I’ve been here to a party or two and I knew the owner.’ As I say, I wanted to get rid of them before the crew came back and I still wanted to identify them. There was no plate on the front of the car, so I thought, ‘well, I’ll get that when they turn around’ and boy, they got in the car, shoo, right down backwards, and I never did get the plate number. ... but they indicated to me they just come up to look around.... I wanted to turn this information over to them when somebody came, because it didn’t look right to me.”
     Sargent lied to Ricker. He had been staying in the cottage and had left it at 11:45 p.m. for his drug deal on the evening of February 17, about 4 hours before Mike’s murder. Maine State Police Homicide Detective Shuman never questioned the two men. But in an October 16, 1984 interview with police informant, David Harriman, Shuman told Harriman that “a week after the fire at the camp, Dickie Sargent and this other guy, I’ll think of his name in a minute showed up while the Fire Marshall was there, when he was there.” (Shuman falsely named Richard Sargent as one of the men Inspector Ricker caught at the murder scene and pretended like he had forgotten Lionel Cormier’s name.)

Maine DEA agents arrive at murder scene

Ricker was asked what he remembered next and he said the next thing would be when Norm Herrin and [MSP Allen] Jamison came back and they brought rope back, ... and then the next one I think was Shuman ... I think I found the body like 11, 12 o’clock, and then between 12 and 1 when Shuman got there, then Pinkham, and the officer over here from the drug unit in Bangor—Captain Clark, I think, was his title from the drug unit—they came, and then I guess Whynott himself came, and then Whynott and I left to go call for the medical examiner.”
     “Was any other evidence found while you were there?”
     “We talked about the glass. In fact, I explained to Shuman that there was this white glass. I says, ‘It looks to me like there was no question that it was blown out of the building.’ And then after they moved the body, I think it was right then anyway that I saw that clean floor. I know I discussed it with them. They [Pinkham and Shuman] said it may have been later that they talked about it”        “[T]hey [Shuman and Pinkham] said Chief Medical Examiner (Ryan) said the body was up in bed and fell down from his bed upstairs—he never got out of bed. I was willing to fight over that. I told him that there was no way. He was on the floor before the fire started. He wasn’t upstairs.” 24

Ricker and Herrin asked to help find a gun

“Did they find a gun on that occasion?” inquired Popkin.
     “Not at that time. I’m not sure of the date without my notes. I got a call from Sergeant Pinkham and he wanted to know if I would come up and help them find a gun from the fire. He said I’ve got a front-end loader coming.”  25
     Attorney Glazier objected to the hearsay testimony. Attorney Popkin started to explain Glazier’s objection to Mr. Ricker’s statement when Glazier cut him off and said, “He’s been in Court more than you and I have.” Mr. Ricker laughed.
     “I said if you leave your damn front end loader out of there, I’ll find your gun for you—if there’s one in there—and we got up to the scene and Norm Herrin was up there and I was there and, of course, I think Shuman was there too. I’m not sure about him but there was somebody else from the lab.”  26
     “And of course they didn’t tell me that they had information from somewhere else where the gun would be to help a little bit, but anyway I knew there was no cellar, I could find a gun, found things smaller than that in a fire. So I told Norm Herrin, I said, we’ve got a gun in here allegedly. Let’s have a look. I started out down one section of the building and Norm turned, he said, ‘I got it’, and I turned around. He had it in his hand. I said, ‘Where did you find it?’ and he says, ‘It was leaning right against the wall here’. I can show on the diagram where it was. I didn’t notice where Norm went, but I started in looking more in the vicinity of the body, which seemed to be a natural place if there’s a gun under the circumstances, I would look. And Norm was right about opposite the fireplace, and he had it in his hand, but he turned around and showed it to me.  “It was leaning right against cement blocks, muzzle up against the wall. So obviously somebody, between the time this happened [February 18th] and that time [March 5th], had picked it up and stood it up there.”   27
     “You couldn’t open it. It was a bolt action gun. They said it was a .22, it wasn’t. It was a 177. I told them Remington only made a few of them. You ought to be able to trace it. Of course, I’m a little critical, but they got over on the wall and tried to beat it open and see. I told them, I said, ‘look, if there’s a shell in there and you open it, you can tell whether it was fired from the firing pin or whether the heat done it’. It was bang, bang, bang."  [Mr. Ricker pounded his fist on the table in front of him indicating] "and I shook my head and left.”    28

Ricker not allowed to investigate the arson

“Now, on the 24th, the day the body was found, you stayed there till dark and at that point you still had an open arson investigation on this particular event?"
     “I felt I did at that time, yes.”
     “When did you cease to actually actively investigate this?”
     “Well, I worked these quite a few times before and what I’ve always done is once I found out they had a body and it was a suspected homicide, I would cooperate with them. They led the investigation, and I would do what they asked me to without butting in, and they usually, you know, in most cases worked with me on the fire end of it. So we had a meeting the next morning [February 25, 1981] up to the Lucerne fire station. Fire Marshal come over from Augusta, Bissette. I know Manduca who was the sergeant from the State Police, but he was just assigned to just supervise the state policemen that worked with us. And [Cpl. Allan] Jamison was there with me, and Norm Herrin was there,  29  and [Elmer] Alto the deputy that followed the tracks was there. I think Pinkham and Jamison both were there. Anyway there were state police representatives there. And after we thrashed it around a little bit, Alto was going to get his part ready for them. I was going to see that they got my report, and at that time they said, well, from now on we’ll call this a homicide, and they have charge of it. ... I interpret it from then on it was up to them, unless they asked me to do something.”
     “You said they called you up once and you went up when they wanted to find a gun. Now, after that did they ever call up and ask your opinion about anything to do with this particular fire?”
     “Not that I recall.”
     “Were you aware that three people were indicted for this in 198[4]?”
     “I read it in the newspaper.
     “At the time of those indictments did anyone from the state police contact you?”
     “No call, no discussion whatsoever with anyone?”

Ricker disputes Pollard’s story of hearing rafters falling

“I would like you to assume ... that someone is in that building and hears the rafters falling, okay. Is it possible in your opinion to get in and out of that building once the rafters are falling?”
     “I would question even getting out, let alone getting back in. ... If you had enough fire to drop a rafter, you would have a temperature that you wouldn’t take more than one breath, probably one good deep breath and you would go down just like you were in an operating room.”
     “I hate to sort of reinvent the wheel and belabor the obvious, but what are you saying? If the rafters are falling, is it likely that someone can get out of that building?”     “Not without protective clothing.”
     “If the rafters are falling, is it likely they can get back in and out again?”
     “A building that size, I would think it would be impossible.”
     “Okay. Let’s start with a completely different assumption. Forget anything about the rafters now, for the purpose of this hypothetical question, which is that the fire is out through the roof, the inside of the walls are—to an outside observer—fully involved with flames. At that point can anyone get in and out of that building within ten minutes of that observation?”
     “My opinion would be no, not that building.”   30
     “Let’s go back to the rafters falling. What is the problem with getting out once the rafters are falling? What’s the basis for your opinion?”
     “I’m basing it on the fact that if those rafters are going to fall, they’ve got to burn off, to fall. They’re going to burn where they are, until they’re practically burned off, and on wood of that type and that big [the logs were 6 inches to 10 or 12 inches in diameter], there’s only two ways you’re going to have it happen. You’re either going to have it happen from a fire that burned a long while in a small place, which is possible in some conditions, or you had a hot fire with a lot of flammable material to drive that temperature up quick. That’s the only two ways you’re going to do it.”
     “Which way did this building burn?”
     “My opinion it would be from the hot fire, all the evidence that I’ve seen. You’ve got smoke and heat both, and a human being isn’t going to take either one, very brief. The high temperature will kill him quicker than the smoke will.”
     “Now, what about the opinion regarding getting in and out of a building within ten minutes once the fire’s out through the roof and the inside walls are totally involved, what’s your basis for stating that?
     “Because the temperature in the building is certainly going to be up where you couldn’t breathe it.”

Found hinges, explosion and no steps to back door - Attorney Glazier

“Have you ever seen the autopsy report that was performed—if one was performed?”
     “On this one I haven’t. I’ve seen all kinds of them. I’ve attended them. I’ve watched them. I’m familiar with them—but not this one.”
     Mr. Ricker asked Attorney Glazier, “Could you move down one more chair. I’m not going to hit you. I want to hear you before I answer you.” 31
     “You also told us that you were looking for the hinges on the door. ... Did you ever go back to look for those?”
     “Oh, I found them. They were laying down there, but they were in the open position—the door burned away.”    32
     “So would you expect in a very hot fire that there would be some immediate explosions?”
     “If what I saw there, if my opinion is correct, which I wouldn’t say so if I didn’t think so, I would expect it to have been an explosion before there was any fire. Simultaneously that there would have been a fire and explosion together would be what I would expect. To set any amount of fire you have to have a trailer. You might see the fire burning before it got to the trailer to go in and touch off your vapors.
     “Are you saying there were steps to the back door?”
     “No, there were no steps. It was just a door open up on the building, and you opened it up and there you had 4 feet down.”  33

Fire started with a gas trailer - Michael Popkin

     “You’ve talked several times about the mechanism of what you called a trailer, something about starting a fire with a trailer. Could you explain for the record what you mean by that?”
     “I mean it’s a trailer for the fire to be ignited at this point A and go to B where you got your main fuel load for your main fire.”
     “In arson investigations, is that a method of setting fires that you’ve run across?”
     “Many times, especially when they use gasoline or some quick burning fuel.”
     “Did any area of this camp disclose to your investigation an area where there had been a slow burn before rather than, you know, a general hot burn?
”    “No, I didn’t see any evidence of it, no, what was left there.”
     “Now, you said that you knew there was a back door there because you saw a door stool or something?”
     “No, a door sill. The only reason I took the picture was to show the can—because I wanted a picture of the can, because I wasn’t going to take it. It was out back and it was close to what in my opinion was the doorway out and no stairs.”

Gas can was close to back door - Attorney Glazer

     “Can you tell us how close it was to the door?”
     “No, but it was close to it, my recollection was very close. It would be like you had it there already to set in or you reached down and dropped it out or whatever.”
Videos of Fire Inspector Wilbur Ricker's deposition



Mike's body was still lying under this fire rubble when Hartford Fire Investigator Michael Meagher took this photo several hours after Mike was murdered. Mike was found buried under the fire rubble in the bottom left corner of the photo near the round object.
This photo is how I saw the the murder scene on Feb. 26 when Linda took the family to the arson scene after the memorial service. Then on March 5 the Maine State Police used a back hoe to completely clean up all the fire rubble along with the standing wall and trucked it all to a dump.