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Maine man allegedly kills parents amid rampage after prison release

A man confessed to killing his parents and their friends just days after being released from prison for assault, police said.
Investigators work at the scene of a deadly shooting.
Posted at 2:19 PM, Apr 20, 2023

A Maine man confessed to killing his parents and two of their friends before firing at cars on a highway, the Maine State Police said on Thursday.

According to the State Police, Joseph Eaton was released on April 14 after completing an aggravated assault sentence. The police said when he was released, his mother Cynthia Eaton took him from the prison to stay with family friends Patricia and Robert Eger. 

On April 18, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office got a 911 call after a family member reported not being able to reach anyone at the Bowdoin, Maine, home. That’s when law enforcement discovered the bodies of the Egers and Joseph Eaton’s parents Patricia and David Eaton. The bodies of the Egers and Patricia Eaton were found inside the home. David Eaton’s body was found outside the home in a barn.

Later on April 18, Maine State Police said officers responded to multiple people and vehicles being struck by gunfire on Interstate 295, nearly 25 miles away from the home. The police said that three adults were wounded. 

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Two of the victims, Sean Halsey and his son Justin, had non-life-threatening injuries. As of Thursday, Paige Halsey, the daughter of Sean Halsey, was in critical condition. 

"I'm heartsick over this tragedy that has occurred, and to the people and the residents of this community," Sheriff Joel Merry told reporters. "And so we're hoping we can move on from this, but it's going to take some time to heal."

Maine State Police said during a search, Joseph Eaton was detained near a wooded area near the interstate. 

"Eaton confessed to killing his parents and their friends in Bowdoin and believed that the vehicles he had shot on the interstate were police vehicles that were following him," Maine State Police said.

He has been charged with four counts of murder.