Judge to rule man charged with killing Turner couple not criminally responsible by reason of insanity

Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 4:40 PM EST
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AUBURN, Maine (WMTW) - A judge said Tuesday he plans to rule that a Turner man accused of killing a couple in their home nearly a year ago is not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.

Patrick Maher was charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of Troy Varney and Dulsie Varney last February in their Turner home.

Maher was a tenant of the Varney’s at the time. He lived in an apartment about a quarter-mile from the Varney’s farmhouse.

One by one, members of the Varney family testified during Tuesday’s competency hearing. They shared their stories of how the murders of the Varneys impacted their lives.

“My brother did his job. He was a good parent, a damn good man,” Trevor Varney said.

Prosecutors said the kindness the Varney’s showed Maher resulted in their deaths.

A forensic psychiatrist testified that Maher had a psychotic break in the days leading up to the murders and he has schizophrenia.

Police said Maher broke through a window to the Varney’s home and ambushed them. The couple’s daughter, Shelby Varney, and her boyfriend were in an upstairs apartment and heard the screams.

“We did everything we could to save their lives,” Shelby Varney said.

Trevor Varney told the judge that family members live in fear that Maher will return one day. They want Maher committed for life.

“All I ask is for the terror to end, to have closure, to be safe in the knowledge that we will be left alone and this killer never returns,” Trevor Varney said.

The judge said he would not issue a former ruling on Tuesday. He said when the time is right, he will rule Maher was severely mentally hill and not criminally responsible for the Varney’s death by reason of insanity.

“The community and the family did not deserve the loss that they suffered but the law spells out a very specific way to handle these matters and the judge’s decision reflects the law,” Maher’s attorney Henry Griffin said.

Maher is being held at the Androscoggin County Jail until a spot for him is secured at one of the state’s psychiatric facilities.

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