ROCKLAND — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has reversed the robbery conviction of a Camden man. In a decision announced Wednesday, the court ordered the conviction of William Rankin, 29, remanded to Superior Court “for further proceedings.”
Rankin was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison on Jan. 25, 1994, on a variety of counts. Maine State Prison reported Wednesday that sentence for the robbery count which had been overturned had been served already. Rankin is serving a sentence on additional robbery counts with a release date of March 1998.
The effect of the supreme court decision remains to be seen, but is expected to be minimal, prison officials said.
According to testimony in the 1994 trial, Rankin and friend William Grant drank heavily on the night of April 21, 1993, at the Wayfarer Hotel. Rankin attacked Frank Roscoe outside the hotel. Roscoe later discovered his wallet and the pay from a fishing trip were missing.
Rankin and Grant proceeded to the Trade Winds Motel to visit a woman, but arrived at the wrong room. When Robert Forsberg opened his motel room door at 1:30 a.m., he was punched in the face by Rankin. The next morning he realized his money had been taken.
Rankin asked for a tape recording concerning the Forsberg incident made by police officer Michael Murphy in pretrial discovery, but never received the tape. The result of the discovery violation “must be a new trial,” the decision stated.
The case was prosecuted by District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau and defended by attorney Thomas Connolly of Portland. The presiding justice was Francis Marsano.