Man confesses to killing parents, parents’ friends in Bowdoin and shooting at motorists on I-295

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 11:50 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:50 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - New details were released Wednesday on the man accused of killing four people in a home in Bowdoin on Tuesday, then shooting at a car in Yarmouth, injuring three people there.

Joshua Eaton, 34, is charged with the murder of his parents and their two friends.

He had just been released from prison last Friday.

During a press conference Tuesday, we learned more about the victims in that home in Bowdoin.

Police say all four were shot and killed. Their deaths have been ruled homicides.

The man police say is responsible for that remains in jail Wednesday night in Wiscasset.

While police did release a timeline of Tuesday’s events, the big question remains as to why this happened.

While police are still sorting out the why, they did call yesterdays incident an “attack on the soul of our state.”

“It’s a shock to everybody. It’s a shock to people that have been in this system for a number of decades, including myself. We want to naturally say, ‘oh this doesn’t happen in Maine. It happens everywhere else. But the reality is is that these senseless acts can and do happen anywhere at any time,’” said Commissioner Michael Sauschuck, Department of Public Safety.

Maine State Police held a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Augusta
Maine State Police held a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Augusta(WABI)

Maine State Police called Tuesday’s homicides and shootings in Bowdoin and Yarmouth one of the most dynamic investigations in Maine’s history.

Tuesday morning, police received a 911 call to from a person who had gone to a home on the Augusta Road in Bowdoin to check on his friends. When police arrived, they found one victim in the barn and three others inside the home.

Deceased inside the home was Robert Eger, 72, and his wife Patricia Eger, 62, as well as Cynthia Eaton, 62. Outside in a barn was David Eaton, 66. Police say Joseph Eaton confessed to killing his parents and their friends in Bowdoin.

Later, law enforcement responded to Interstate 295 in Yarmouth where people and vehicles were struck by gunfire. Officials say three people were transported to Maine Medical Center with gunshot wounds: 51-year-old Sean Halsey and his two children, 29-year-old Justin Halsey, and 25-year-old Paige Halsey, all from Bowdoinham.

Officials say Paige is still in critical condition and Sean and Justin received non-life-threatening injuries.

Eaton was taken into custody in a wooded area near the Exit 15 just before 11 A.M.

“Mr. Eaton was then taken by major crimes detectives and Portland police officers to the Portland police department, where he gave a confession and admitted to killing his parents and his parents’ friends,” said Col. William Ross, Maine State Police.

Police say he told them he believed the vehicles he had shot at on the interstate were police vehicles that were following him.

“For right now, he’s just charged with the crimes in Bowdoin and the multiple cases in Yarmouth will he pending,” Ross said. “This is difficult for the communities for not only Bowdoin but of Yarmouth and surrounding communities because this stuff doesn’t happen in Maine. As horrible as this situation is, as tragic as this is, it seems to be an isolated incident and not part of a bigger problem, which I think is good news for the resident of Maine.”

State records show Eaton’s past convictions include aggravated assault that would have prevented gun possession. Eaton was charged over the past decade with more than a half-dozen crimes and served an eight-month sentence last year for assault, according to state records.

He was just released from Windham Correctional Facility on Friday.

Authorities say after his release, his mother Cynthia met him at the prison and brought him to Bowdoin to stay with family friends, the Egers.

Eaton is due in court on Thursday.

Joseph Eaton's past convictions
Joseph Eaton's past convictions(Two Bridges Regional Jail)