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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Patrick Whittle and David Sharp

Maine man charged with killing his parents and 2 others indicted, faces more charges

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A man charged with four counts of murder for allegedly killing his parents and two others in a series of shootings that shook Maine earlier this year has been indicted, officials said on Friday.

Law enforcement officials say 34-year-old Joseph Eaton confessed to police to the killings at a property in rural Bowdoin and injuring three people while shooting at vehicles on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth. He faces additional charges related to the highway shootings.

The bodies were found in Bowdoin on April 18, days after Eaton's release from prison.

Eaton’s parents, Cynthia Eaton, 62, and David Eaton, 66, were killed along with their longtime friends, Bowdoin homeowners Robert Eger, 72, and Patti Eger, 62, officials said.

Soon after the bodies were discovered, police responded to gunshots fired at several vehicles more than 20 miles (about 32 kilometers) to the south on the busy highway in Yarmouth. Bullets struck a family in one of the vehicles, wounding Sean Halsey, 51; Justin Halsey, 29; and Paige Halsey, 25, police said.

The indictment released Friday includes 16 charges in total, including nine counts of theft of a firearm and a count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. It states that he stole nine firearms from the Egers.

The indictment also charges Eaton with aggravated cruelty to animals and states that he killed Max, the Egers' goldendoodle, “in a manner manifesting a depraved indifference to animal life or suffering.”

A Cumberland County grand jury indicted Eaton last week on 11 charges related to the highway shootings. Those charges include aggravated attempted murder.

Eaton was “intending to cause multiple deaths” when he fired the shots from the highway, the indictment stated.

Eaton is due in court in Bath on June 28 for a dispositional conference. He has been represented in the case by attorney Andrew Wright of Brunswick. Wright did not return a call seeking comment on Friday.

Eaton has been jailed since his arrest on April 18 near the chaotic scene along the highway, where traffic backed up as heavily armed law enforcement searched the area. He first appeared in court later that week, though he has not yet entered a plea.

Eaton’s parents were staying with their longtime friends after his mother picked him up from a Maine prison on April 14, where he served about two years for a sentence revocation after completing a sentence in Florida for aggravated assault, part of a long criminal history in Maine, Kansas and Florida.

Police still don't know Eaton's motive for the slayings. A criminal affidavit stated that an unsigned note found at the scene mentioned “someone being freed of pain and that the writer of the note wanted a new life.”

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