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Court rejected appeal of man convicted in hammer killing

Reginald Dobbins Jr. contended the judge improperly excluded from jurors his friend's guilty plea to killing the man.
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PORTLAND, Maine — Maine's supreme court has rejected the appeal of a man who was sentenced to 65 years in prison for a brutal killing.

Reginald Dobbins Jr. contended the judge improperly excluded from jurors his friend's guilty plea to killing the man. The court said Tuesday it was a "harmless" error in light of other evidence. The court also rejected his argument that the sentence was unconstitutional.

The victim, Keith Suitter, ran a painting business and lived alone in Houlton. Officials say the 61-year-old was beaten and stabbed to death on March 1, 2015. Samuel Geary got a 40-year sentence in 2017.

Law enforcement described it as a drug-related killing.

A hammer believed to have been used in the killing was found in the home of Dobbins, who was 18 at the time.