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BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A homeless man convicted of setting a delivery truck afire, killing two transients who had been sleeping inside, was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.
John De St. Croix argued with one of the victims before the fire was set, and surveillance video placed him at the scene in March 2018. He was convicted last year of arson and murder.
He chose not to address Justice Ann Murray, who imposed the maximum sentence for murder. She also sentenced him to 30 years for arson.
The blaze was so hot that no one was able to rescue the victims, who were heard screaming and pounding on the walls of the truck in a desperate attempt to escape. Killed were Michael Bridges, 43, and Desiree York, 36.
Murray noted that De St. Croix did nothing to help, even after hearing the cries of the victims. As the fire grew into an inferno, "he made no effort to stop it,” she said.
Emotions ran high during the hearing.
York's father had to be escorted from the courtroom after shouting at De St. Croix, calling him names and stepping toward him. The judge called a recess to restore order.
Both the defendant and the victims were part of Bangor's homeless community and had been drinking together before the fire.
Surveillance video didn't capture the fire being set, but it showed De St. Croix leaving the scene with two bags. The video showed him stopping to watch the flames for about 30 seconds.
His attorney said he had meant to target Bridges and didn't know York was with him inside the truck.
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