A burglar has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after admitting the manslaughter of a woman he neither attacked nor touched, but who was apparently scared to death when he tried to rob her home.
Connie Loucks, 62, who suffered from heart disease, suffered a fatal heart attack after Carlton Young and his accomplices knocked on the door and windows of her home in the town of Wells, in Maine, in March 2015.
Young, 26, from nearby Sanford, was offered a plea deal the day before his trial was due to begin and pleaded guilty on Monday to manslaughter, attempted burglary, burglary and several other charges over the home invasion.
A judge in York County Superior Court accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Young to 10 years in jail.
Prosecutors said Young and several others broke into Loucks’ home when she wasn’t there on 21 March 2015 and stole jewellery worth £7,730, and returned the following day, knocking on her door and windows.
Loucks was talking to her daughter, Sarah, on the phone at the time of the incident and told her she thought the same burglars who had stolen her belongings the day before had returned. Then, the line went dead.
Sarah called 911 and police arrived to find Mrs Loucks unresponsive on her sofa. A post-mortem found she had died of a heart attack.
“I think the defendant is a coward and a punk. I hope his soul rots in hell,” Connie Loucks’ husband, Brian, said in court.
“This is an unimaginable tragedy for my family,” he said. “Not a day goes by that we don’t think about how terrorised Connie must have been that day. She was a sweet, loving, kind individual who doesn’t deserve this,” he added.
Young’s lawyer, Amy Fairfield, told the court her client was too emotional to speak himself.
“He asked me if he did this today, if it would end it,” Fairfield said. “He said, it’s been going on for three and a half years, and the family deserves closure. That was the tipping point for Carlton today to plead guilty.”
Under Maine law, Young could have been sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in jail if found guilty of murder.
The case would have presented an unusual challenge for prosecutors in part because Young did not use a weapon or physically touch Loucks.