March 29, 2020

Letter gets man arrested > Inmate, 61, accused of witness tampering

ROCKLAND — Roland “Rabbit” Dube Jr., who is charged with rape, was arrested in his cell at the Knox County Jail on a felony charge of tampering with a witness.

The 61-year old Dube, who is HIV-positive, is awaiting trial on two counts of gross sexual assault and one count of aggravated assault. The charges stem from the alleged rape of a Rockland man last fall.

Dube was arrested on the tampering charge after city police obtained evidence of his writing a letter urging a potential witness to falsely testify at the coming rape trial.

“He was sending letters from jail promising a large sum of money to a witness to testify for him,” Deputy Police Chief Wallace Tower confirmed Wednesday. “Detective William Donnelly arrested him at the jail on Friday.”

Dube was arrested last September after a 35-year-old mentally disabled Rockland man told police that Dube raped him. The assault allegedly occurred after Dube invited the man to his apartment at the Thorndike Hotel for a lunch of hot dogs and beans. The victim claimed that Dube did not use a condom during the assault. Dube met the man during a group therapy session at the Mid-Coast Mental Health Center.

Dube has been in jail since his arrest. Bail was set at $100,000 with a single surety or 25 percent cash. His trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 9.

A copy of the incriminating letter was attached to the affidavit Donnelly filed with the court to support the witness tampering charge.

In it, Dube informed the manager of the Thorndike Hotel that “the state is trying me on my past and wants to put me away in prison for 15-20 years. I do not deserve that because that guy told lies … I need a friend that will help me and who I can trust. Will you be my witness and make his lies worthless?”

After telling the woman that he had $3,300 in SSI money put away and offering her “$2,500 for your help,” Dube proceeded to lay out a scenario in which the manager would testify that she was present during the dinner and that nothing happened.

“All I need is a witness,” Dube wrote. “The state will have a big lawsuit if I win and they deserve to get sued … This is for your eyes only.”

Additional documentation filed with the case revealed that Dube arrived in Rockland in June after finishing a lengthy sentence for escape at the Maine State Prison. Dube’s rap sheet shows an extensive criminal history dating back to a bank robbery in Portland in 1963. All told, Dube has spent more than 25 years in state and federal prisons across the country for escapes, robberies, bank robberies, forgery and bad checks.

On Wednesday, Dube made his initial appearance on the tampering charge before District Court Judge William Anderson. Although the appearance was held to schedule a probable cause hearing, Dube told Judge Anderson that he was “not guilty.” Anderson set bail on the tampering charge at $100,000 with one surety or 50 percent cash. The probable cause hearing was set for Feb. 19.

During the appearance, Dube told Judge Anderson that he was upset with his court-appointed attorney, Daniel Purdy, and wanted to act as his own lawyer. Anderson immediately transferred Dube upstairs to a hearing before Knox County Superior Court Justice Francis Marsano.

Although Marsano cautioned Dube to “be aware of the risks you run” in acting as his own lawyer, he did not deny him that right. However, Marsano stressed that Purdy would continue to be his council and assist him with jury selection and trial procedures.

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