Police: Morrill man shot girlfriend's ex seven times

By Ethan Andrews | Mar 18, 2019
Photo by: Ethan Andrews Austin McDevitt enters the courtroom at Waldo Judicial Center March 18 in his first court appearance since he was accused in the shooting death of a Belfast man.

Belfast — The 22-year-old charged with murder on Friday emptied a fully loaded handgun at his romantic rival, hitting him seven times, according to an affidavit from Maine State Police filed at Belfast District Court Monday morning.

Austin McDevitt of Morrill is accused of murdering 26-year-old Shane Sauer of Belfast on March 15 outside a Swanville residence.

The shooting was reported by a neighbor at 4:46 a.m. According to the affidavit by Detective Scott Quintero, McDevitt called police 15 minutes later to say he had shot his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend and that the gun was in the glove box of his car parked in front of Belfast Police Department.

Belfast Police were first at the scene at 568 Oak Hill Road, arriving at 5:17 a.m. where they found a man performing CPR on Sauer. The affidavit states three women were also present, including the property owner Andrea Walsh and her daughter Jean Howard, the romantic interest of McDevitt and Sauer. Medical workers arrived soon after and pronounced Sauer dead.

An autopsy found that he had been shot seven times, including three times in the head.

McDevitt later told Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews that he was invited to the house at 568 Oak Hill Road by Howard, and had socialized with her and her family until 3 a.m. then retired with her to a camper on the property.

McDevitt said he woke up to getting his "ass kicked" by Sauer. The two men fought for "a few seconds inside the camper," Quintero wrote in the affidavit. "McDevitt advised that he grabbed Sauer in a choke hold and Sauer grabbed him by the testicles and they both agreed to terminate the fight."

McDevitt told police he knew Sauer and Howard had been romantically involved but believed that they were in the process of breaking up. The men had previously engaged in multiple arguments on Facebook, and McDevitt told police he once challenged Sauer to a fistfight. The day before the shooting, McDevitt said Sauer messaged him and asked to fight.

In an interview with State Police detectives Chris Crawford and Benjamin Sweeney, Howard said she woke up to find McDevitt and Sauer fighting. In a few seconds it was over, she said, and McDevitt went outside the camper. Sauer sat on the bed for about two minutes then left, at which point Howard reported hearing a gunshot and seeing that Sauer was shot in the head. She told police she could not see the shooter.

McDevitt told police that he tucked a Sig Sauer P320 pistol into the waistband of his pants as he was leaving the camper and waited for Sauer about 25 feet away. He reported that Sauer said "I'm going to f****** kill you." In response, McDevitt said he pulled out the pistol and "actioned the slide putting a round in the chamber." Sauer stopped moving and McDevitt said he aimed for Sauer's "center mass."

"He explained that he knew not to shoot to wound," Quintero wrote in the affidavit.

McDevitt told police that Sauer was not moving toward him and that he could see that Sauer's hands were empty. He said he then shot Sauer, who fell to the ground. McDevitt approached and shot him multiple times, according to the police affidavit. He later told police he emptied his gun, firing 16 rounds at Sauer. McDevitt said to State Police detectives that he did not attempt to help Sauer but walked past him to get his boots and left the property, driving straight to the police station in Belfast where he reported the crime.

McDevitt made his first court appearance March 18 at Waldo Judicial Center in Belfast with his attorney Rick Morse of the Rockland law firm Strout and Payson.

Justice Robert Murray read the charge of knowingly causing the death of Sauer to McDevitt, who acknowledged that he understood. A conviction would carry a minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of suspension, Murray said.

The judge set a bail hearing for April 12 at 8:30 a.m., and at the request of state prosecutors, said McDevitt's case would be heard by a grand jury in May.

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