A Cushing, Maine, lobsterman charged with seaman's manslaughter in the death of two crewmen nearly four years ago is expected to plead guilty next week and take responsibility for the deaths of his crew.
Christopher A. Hutchinson, 30, is scheduled to enter guilty pleas on two counts of manslaughter at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 26.
In exchange, the U.S. Attorney's Office has agreed to recommend a sentence of 48 months in prison with credit for time he has served while awaiting trial. The prison sentence would be followed by three years of supervised release.
The charges carried a potential sentence of 10 years in prison.
Hutchinson’s 45-foot fiberglass boat, No Limits, capsized and sank in heavy seas on Nov. 1, 2014, while returning to port after hauling lobster traps for several hours. The two crewmen aboard — Tomas Hammond, 27, and Tyler Sawyer, 15 — were never found after the boat overturned. Hutchinson, 28, made it into a life raft and was rescued.
The boat had been hauling in an area called Eleven Mile Ridge, despite National Weather Service warnings of dangerous weather and sea conditions.
Hutchinson initially told officials that a heavy storm caused the at-sea incident, but later tests revealed traces of Oxycodone and marijuana in his blood.
Hutchinson was arrested Dec. 19, 2016, on manslaughter charges, but was released three days later on $10,000 unsecured bail under conditions that prohibited him from using or possessing illegal narcotics.
He was arrested again in March 2017 after overdosing on heroin. He's been held by police ever since.