ELLSWORTH — A convicted murderer who escaped from Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston last week was captured Tuesday morning in Dover-Foxcroft.
A Piscataquis County Sheriff’s deputy apprehended 65-year-old Arnold Freeman Nash as he was walking along Route 15 shortly before 7 a.m., according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland. He was taken to Piscataquis County Jail.
Nash was a little more than a year away from completing his sentence for the murder of a North Sullivan man when he walked away from Mountain View Correctional Facility. He was last seen at about 8:20 p.m. Sept. 13.
In 1992, Nash was sentenced in Hancock County Superior Court to 45 years for Class A murder. He began serving his sentence at Maine State Prison and was later transferred to Downeast Correctional Facility then Mountain View Correctional, where he had been since February 2018.
After receiving credits for time served and good behavior, Nash would have served 27 years of his 45-year sentence before his scheduled release date in December 2019, according to the Department of Corrections.
According to a June 4, 1992, article in The American, Nash accepted a plea agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to charges of murder and robbery in connection with the death of his neighbor, Wilfred Gibeault. The 58-year-old disabled North Sullivan man’s body was found with blunt force head trauma in his home on March 8, 1991. According to the 1992 article, Nash beat Gibeault to death with a piece of firewood during a robbery.
During the sentencing hearing, Justice Robert L. Browne described the murder as a “vicious and violent crime without any provocation whatsoever” that was the “result of pure greed.”
Assistant Attorney General Gary Green said at the hearing that Nash knew his victim was home at the time of the robbery and that he would have to kill Gibeault in order to steal from him.
Cash and three gold rings with cubic zirconium stones were stolen, according to the article.
At the sentencing hearing, Green described the murder as “extremely brutal.” He said Gibeault was struck repeatedly on the face and head while lying on the couch watching television and then again when he was on the floor trying to escape.
After the killing, Nash fled and was the subject of a manhunt. He was arrested three weeks later hitchhiking on Route 1 in Bucksport.
In a press release Monday, Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick defended Nash’s placement in a minimum-security facility, explaining that there is a process in place for transitioning prisoners nearing the end of their sentences to minimum security “to begin reintegrating them into less restrictive settings as they near their release to the community.”
The Department of Corrections, state police, Maine Warden Service, Maine Forest Rangers, New Hampshire State Police and local law enforcement were involved in the manhunt.