Roger Johnson’s 12/5/1984 interview after his arrest for arson/murder

Det. Cpl. Barry Shuman interviewed Roger Johnson first at 2:00 p.m. and read him his constitutional rights. Johnson said he would speak without an attorney present. Det. Cpl. David Giroux was present during the interviews of Johnson and Meyers.

     Shuman said, “Okay, Mr. Johnson, you understand that the Hancock County Grand Jury has indicted you today; charging you with murder and arson. This was a murder that took place in February 1981. The arson took place at the camp owned by David Dupray’s mother; and the person that was deceased in the camp as a result of the fire was Micheal Cochran. What can you tell me about your knowledge of this fire or these people involved in this right now?
     “I had nothing to do with the fire at all, you know, I had no reason to even attempt to burn down his camp....”
     Shuman wanted to know if [Robert] Rideout asked him if he burned down Dupray’s camp in a conversation he had with Rideout. Shuman struck a nerve with Johnson.
      “No, he didn’t. ... I’ll tell you right now, I didn’t have a f***ing thing to do with this f***ing deal. I’ll prove it to you too, when I go for that test [polygraph examination]. Any way I can help you, I’ll help. I’ll help you now anyways. Ain’t trying to set me up on the f***ing deal.”
     “The information I’ve got is that you fronted Cochran some cocaine,” Shuman said.
     “I don’t even know Cochran.”
     “He was introduced to you from Bobby Rideout [police informant], David Dupray, and you fronted him some cocaine and he welshed on the deal.”
     “NO! They’re lying. Somebody’s lying, setting me up. You give me a lie detector test; I’ll prove it right to you. I tell you right now, I didn’t have nothing to do with this f***ing fire deal. And this Cochran guy, if he was here right today, I wouldn’t know him if I seen him. Wouldn’t even know him. I don’t even know that Percy guy, hardly at all. Other than by the name, them two I don’t even know. The only one I know is Dave and Bob. Dave Dupray and Bob Rideout.”
     “Then what you(re) telling me is you never fronted cocaine for Micheal Cochran.”
     “No, sir, don’t even know the guy. You’ll find that out when I take the test.”
     Shuman tells Johnson, “I heard that Percy Sargent was at a party here just before he went to Thomaston, and that he was bragging about Micheal Cochran getting knocked off.
     Johnson said, “I heard that Percy done it.”
    “Percy was in jail when the fire started.”
     “Well, I don’t know, that’s what Bob (Rideout), Bob thought Percy had something to do with it. ... I’ll tell you right now, I didn’t have nothing to do with this f***ing deal. Whoever’s doing it is setting me up. I guarantee you that. ...”
     Shuman said, “From what you’re saying to me, from the time that the Cochran fire happened, or the fire at Dupray’s which resulted in the death of Micheal Cochran, you have not heard anything—you were in this circle, and these people do a lot of talking and you never heard anybody talking who might have set fire to the camp.”
     “I know one time I heard one little thing, but I don’t know the guy’s name that they were talking about—thought they might have done it. I was thinking Sargent, that Percy guy ...”
     “Could it have been Dickie Sargent, Percy’s brother?”
     “I thought it was a Sargent they was talking about—they thought that done it.”
     “You’re not sure who the people were who said that it may have been Dickie Sargent who did this?
     “No. I couldn’t say for sure. But all I could seem to think was Percy Sargent...”
     Shuman said, “... did they ever tell you that Percy ripped off drug dealers?”
     “Dickie Sargent ripped off drug dealers?”
     Johnson again says “...I don’t know the Sargent’s. I don’t know that Cochran guy. Those other guys you named, I’ve never heard of them.”
     Shuman says “The other thing I heard during the investigation was a bunch of the area dealers were going to get together because they were getting ripped off by Dickie Sargent, Lionel Cormier, and Percy. And that they were going to see what they could do about taking care of this situation.”

     Shuman then says, “I’m talking about strong-arm type rip-offs. In other words, if you had $20,000 at your house.”
     “I never heard anything about that. ... What do you mean by strong-arm, you mean go in and hold them up?”

William Myers’ 12/5/1984 interview after his arrest for arson/murder

At 3:00 pm, 0ne hour after Johnson interview Shuman started his interview of William Meyers. Maine State Police Cpl. David Giroux was present during the recorded interview. After Meyers was read his constitutional rights, he said he would speak with Shuman without an attorney present.

     Shuman first asked Meyers if he was aware that he was a State Police Officer.
     Meyers said, “I know you are because I’ve seen you before....”
     “You have the absolute right to the advice of a lawyer before any questioning, and to have the presence of a lawyer here with you during questioning. Do you understand that? ... What does that______?”
     “It means it’s going to cost a lot of money to have a lawyer, Yeah, I understand.”
     “...If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be furnished to you free before any questioning if you desire. Do you understand that? What does that mean?”
     Meyers said, “It means you guys gotta pay the bill, and I get shafted.”
     “I just want to ask you a few more questions, Bill.”
     “I bet you do, otherwise we wouldn’t be here, right?”
     Shuman wanted to know if Meyers had had anything to drink. Meyers said he had had some CLC, Black Velvet, and beer. He said he drank constantly every day, but that he wasn’t drunk. He said, “Any man in his right mind would never say he was drunk.”
     Shuman said, “Do you know where you are?”
     “Yeah. I’m in jail.”
     “You understand that you’re under arrest for murder and arson.”
     “... All I want to know is, who’d I murder and who’d I arson?”
     “This is for the 1981 murder and arson of Micheal Cochran in a Lucerne camp.”
     “So now I gotta do, the same guy you said years ago was in that house?”
     “Yes, sir. ... I’m going to tell you a few things I heard and we can just talk about them back and forth. ... Where were you the night before David’s camp burnt?”
     “Right at the moment, I don’t know. That was a long time ago [nearly four years].”
     “... How about the name, you know David Dupray?”
    “Yeah. I saw him about four times, four or five times, maybe more than that. ...”
     “How about Dickie Sargent? You know Dickie Sargent and Percy Sargen?”
     “Percy sounds familiar. The name Percy, not Sargent.”
     “Just Percy? ... Dickie Sargent doesn’t?”
     “Lionel Cormier sound familiar?”
     Shuman said, “Was there any talk about the time—we know that drug dealers are getting ripped off in the Bangor area, and there was supposed to be a meeting among some of the drug dealers to take care of the problem of Dickie Sargent, and Cormier, and [illegible] ripping off and stealing the drug money. You ever hear anything about that?
     “Yeah, I talked to two guys in suits.”
     “... You didn’t go down to Dupray’s camp and set it on fire?”
     “No. No way.”
     “The name Micheal Cochran doesn’t mean anything to you?”
     “No. Not a bit.”
     “... So all these names I’ve just mentioned to you, with the exception of [Ronald] Jellison, [Robert] Rideout, and [David] Dupray, you don’t know anything about Cochran, Percy Sargent, Richard Sargent, Lionel Cormier?”
     “No, I remember meeting a Percy though, but I don’t remember his last name.”
     “Richard never came down to Bubbie’s [Johnson] place?”
     “Richard who?”
     “Sargent.” “You’d have to show me pictures, cause I don’t remember names.”
     “Well, we’ll be able to show you a picture of Richard here pretty soon....”
     “The way things are going, I don’t think I’m going anywhere anyway, so.”
     “Not for a while.”
     Meyers said, “Looks like a Merry f***ing Christmas, don’t it?”

Richard Sargent’s 12/5/1984 interview after his arrest for arson/murder

Richard didn't live in the Bangor area. It was 7:40 am bere he arrived at his mother's home that evening. Only Pinkham was present for Richard's interview. Richard was read his constitutional rights and also agreed to speak to the detectives without an attorney present.

     “Richard ... You know that both Sgt. Pinkham and I are law enforcement officers?”
     Richard said that he did and Shuman then asked Richard if he had been drinking and he said, “I’ve had a few beers ... you shocked me, sobered me up quick.”
     “Richard, you understand that you’ve been placed under arrest on the charges of murder and arson, you’re indicted by the grand jury here in Hancock County this morning. This murder and arson happened in February of 1981, involving Micheal Cochran, back in 1981. Do you know William Meyers or Roger Johnson or Bubbie Johnson?”
     “I don’t know them personally, never met either one personally, just heard of them.”
     “You remember that I came out to Auburn and talked with you back in, probably April [March 11] 1981, somewhere in there. And asked you where you were on that particular night that David Dupray’s camp caught on fire. Do you remember this?”
     Richard told Shuman that he was in Auburn with his girlfriend the night of the fire. He said he never lived in Winterport. His only reason for going there was because his mother lived there and that she had lived there for eight years.
     Shuman said, “About eight years. And in the course of this time, you’ve never run across Bubbie Johnson?”
     “Out of my league. Let’s just say I’m the peon.”
     “How about David Dupray?”
     “Dupray? I know Dupray.”
     “Were you ever at a party at [Johnson’s] house?”
     “Never socialized with him. Never, ever in my life have I ever met Bubbie Johnson or the other guy. I will take a (1)lie detector test on that.”
     “Well, that might be in the future, but for right now, I just want to know what you know. You’ve never been down [to] Roger Johnson’s place down there in Winterport?”
     “Lionel Cormier?”
     “Yeah. I know him.”
     “Did you know Lionel’s brother?”
     “Not that well.”
     “Do you know what his name is?”
     “Not right off my head.”
     “Paul Pollard. Was Paul Pollard living with Lionel right about this time, January?
     “I think he was living with Percy. Percy, my brother, was staying at the camp. That night that he was arrested. We went through this before. He was arrested for dealing drugs or something. And Dupray was arrested that night. I wasn’t around there.
     “When did you find out Percy got arrested?”
“I think the next day. My mother called me up.”
     “You didn’t come over and try to get Percy bailed out?”
     “I think I got my brother-in-law to bail him out.”
    “Did you know Micheal Cochran?”
     “No, I never met him. Percy was in custody that night that that place burnt.”
     “I know that. I know he was in jail at Penobscot County. He also made a phone call that night.
     “Who’d he call?”

Cochran turned Percy in
     “We think it was you he called; told you that he got busted and that Cochran turned him in. ... And he wanted you to take care of Cochran.”
     “No, he didn’t ask me to do that, never.”

Det. Shuman accuses Mike of making a hit on Charles Dolan
     “Percy and Cochran were going to make a hit on Charlie Dolan—know who Charlie Dolan is?”
     “Was Cochran and Cormier friendly?”
     “Not really. Cochran, I think he kind of felt intimidated by him.”
     “Charlie Dolan don’t ring a bell with you?,” Shuman said.
    “One of the biggest dealers in East Corinth right now, Lionel... Dickie, [illegible] guy that you been around. The name Charlie Dolan doesn’t ring a bell to you?
&     “No.”
     “I think you(re) bullshitting me. ...You don’t know about Charlie Dolan losing his ear? Christ, that was all over every place. That was back just after the fire.
 Cochran was going to make a big score And your brother Percy and Cochran, they talked about making a big score.
…     You guys, you and Lionel came up the east coast ripping off drug dealers and you had David Dupray here and you had the guy ... I’m talking big time, I’m not talking little shit. You tie a guy up to a tree and he almost dies.”
     “That wasn’t my idea.”
     “Well, I realize that. I think that was Lionel’s idea, ’cause I think Lionel is good for things like that.
     Richard said, “... I didn’t set no fire.”
     “I didn’t say you set a fire.”
     “I didn’t kill anybody.”
     “The fire killed him.”
     “Well, I didn’t set no fire. ... (2) I’ll take a lie detector test.
     “Well, that’s going to be down the road, depending on what happens here in the next few days, the next few weeks. But you were in town. And you were with the two guys that are locked up in there right now. They set the fire.”
&     “They might have, but I didn’t. I don’t even know, all I know is their names, you know. That’s all I know.”
     “It’s funny the people in the Penobscot county jail knew that there was going to be a body in the camp, ’cause Ralph [Pinkham] talked to a guy that was in the county jail.
     “And I didn’t set no fire. You think I set the fire to get back at Dupray, I didn’t do it.”

Cochran welshed on coke to Roger Johnson
     “No, I think the fire was set to get at Cochran, not at Dupray. Because Cochran welshed on coke to Bubbie Johnson. Cochran was going to snitch to the cops. And then when Percy got dumped.”
     Richard said, “Percy could have been at that camp when it went up, but he got busted that night. If he wouldn’t have got busted, he would have been in that camp.”

Cochran taught a lesson – Cochran owed Johnson $20 grand
    "Then it wouldn’t have gone up. ’Cause the camp wasn’t burnt up [to] teach Dupray a lesson. ...Cochran was going to be taught a lesson,” ... Did you know that Cochran owed Bubbie Johnson about $20 grand.      “
    "... If I take a (3)lie detector test would you believe me? I will take one, if you want me to, so you’ll see I’m telling the truth.”
Cochran taught a lesson – Cochran was going snitch on Percy
     “... Cochran was going to be taught a lesson. Cochran was going to snitch... on your brother—and blood’s a little thicker than water.”
     “I don’t know about that. Take that (4)lie detector test and you’ll see that I’m telling the truth. You can sit there and look at me, but I did not have nothing to do with it.”
     “And you didn’t hear about any rip-offs on Charlie Dolan?
     “Did you know Percy was going to rip [Dupray] off that night that he got arrested?”
     “I think things got out of hand that night.”
     “What night?”
     “The night that Cochran was killed.”
     “I wasn’t there. Wasn’t even in that neck of the woods.”
      “Yeah, but it was your brother that got busted; and he thought he got set up by Cochran.”
     “I don’t know. I’m telling you everything I know. I didn’t have nothing to do with that.”
     “When you get inside, Dickie, you’ll be talking with Bubbie and Bill; I’m sure they’ve got a pretty good idea who turned them in. Mention the name Rideout, Pammy—you know Pammy Johnson?”
     Shuman said, “We think it was you he called—told you that he got busted and that Cochran turned him in. ... And he wanted you to take care of Cochran. There are witnesses that can put you in Bangor and Winterport and in the area that night”
    “I did not set that fire. I don’t even know those people. All I know is their names.”

Cochran set Percy up
     “All you know is that Cochran set your brother up.”
     “Why would he set my brother up?”
    “So he could score the big score. Whatever that was.... While Percy was in jail, Cochran makes a score and gets out of town.”
     “The only thing that will clear me is the (5) lie detector test. That’s what it’ll take. I won’t admit to something I didn’t do. I don’t even know where that camp is.”
     “If you were with the two people who did the arson, even though you didn’t pour the gasoline or strike the match ...”
     “I’m telling you, I didn’t have nothing to do with this ... You don’t go kill someone ’cause you get set up for selling pot.”

Cochran going to snitch on Roger Johnson
     “That’s not the only reason. He was going to go snitch on Bubbie Johnson, that’s something to get killed about.”
    "I never met Johnson in my life, not once, or the other guy.”
     “Have you pissed off anyone recently?”
     “That would want to set you up or anything?
    " ...I will take a (6)lie detector test later.”
     “Okay. We’ll see what happens.”
     “Now, if I make this (7)lie detector test, will that clear me?”
     “Then it will be up to the, we don’t make those decisions, it will be between whoever you have for an attorney and the attorney general’s office
     “All you want to know is who set that fire.”
     “That’s right.”
     Ralph Pinkham spoke up and said, “That isn’t all we want to know.”
     “I didn’t have nothing to do with it. I did not even know of it happening until a day after or so. I was not involved in it whatsoever.” 

End of conversation