STERLING – At 1:08 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, a resident called police to report an “unusual” man carry a large backpack and “a lot of shopping bags” walking down Lucas Road in the direction of Princeton.
According to the Sterling Police Log, the caller stated that she had never seen the man before and that she noticed the police presence on Lucas Road earlier in the day.
Detective John Chase and Officer Michael Porcaro of the Sterling Police Department responded to the call. When they arrived in the area, they found a man matching the description of the caller walking on Hobbs Road in Princeton by house number 138.
“Officer Porcaro exited his cruiser and approached the male party,” wrote Det. Chase in his Statement of Facts in Support of Application for Criminal Complaint. “The male party was asked his name and he gave a false name. The male party was later identified to be Mr. Michael Spano with a birth date of 01/06/1992.” Michael Spano, is a 30-year-old resident of 7 Russell Holmes Way in Carver, MA. According to his arrest report, Spano once attended the Porter and Chester Institute, a technical school in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Dispatch advised the officers that there were two active warrants out for Spano’s arrest.
According to Det. Chase, Spano was then placed under arrest for the two active warrants and advised of his Miranda Rights which he told police he understood.
While Officer Porcaro searched Spano following his arrest, he found two small, knotted plastic bags of heroin in his right front pocket. Officer Porcaro then found a prescription bottle of Omeprazole for Joanne Washburn. Washburn, originally of Marlborough, was a 24-year-old woman who was found deceased in a residence on Lucas Road earlier that day.
Police describe Washburn’s death as “unwitnessed.” An unwitnessed death is defined as an incidence in which the deceased was seen alive and functioning normally within 24 hours of being found dead.
“I asked Mr. Spano how did he get possession of Ms. Washburn’s medication,” wrote Det. Chase in his Statement of Facts. “Mr. Spano stated he must have taken it by accident when he took his medication from her house. Note: Ms. Washburn is the deceased from the previous call at 51 Lucas Road.”
Spano was transported to the Sterling Police Department for booking.
“When I arrived at the Sterling Police Department to assist with booking, I contacted Trooper Benjamin Breton of the Massachusetts State Police CPAC Unit,” wrote Det. Chase in his Statement of Facts. “Trooper Breton was the investigating person assigned for the unwitnessed death of Ms. Washburn. I advised Trooper Breton, Mr. Spano is in custody and I asked him if he wanted to interview him. Trooper Breton stated ‘yes’ and he will come to the Sterling Police Department.”
While waiting for Trooper Breton to arrive, Spano was booked on the warrants and advised that he was also being charged with Possession of a Class E Substance and Possession of a Class A Substance, Subsequent Offense.
According to Det. Chase, Spano has 45 entries on his adult Board of Probation and seven entries for his juvenile. On his adult Board of Probation, Spano has a guilty finding from an Oct. 18, 2021 charge of Possession of a Class A Substance.
At 2:15 p.m., Trooper Breton arrived at the station. Spano was taken into the interview room with Trooper Breton and Det. Chase.
“Mr. Spano was advised that the interview room is audio and video recorded,” wrote Det. Chase in his Statement of Facts. “Mr. Spano was read his Miranda Rights again and he was asked questions about Ms. Washburn’s death. After the interview was over, Mr. Spano was placed in cell #2 for holding.”
Spano was arraigned in Clinton District Court on the drug charges on Nov. 30. After his arraignment, he was released on his own personal recognizance on $300 cash bail.
On Dec. 1, Spano had a bail revocation hearing in Clinton, after which he was held for transport to Plymouth District Court, where at least one of the warrants comes from.
Spano is scheduled to appear in Clinton District Court on Dec. 30 for a pretrial hearing.
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