Suspect in Maine murders, highway shootings makes first appearance in court

Joseph Eaton is scheduled to face a judge Thursday on four counts of murder
Augusta Road in Bowdoin
Augusta Road in Bowdoin(WMTW)
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 9:50 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2023 at 11:07 AM EDT
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BOWDOIN, Maine (WMTW) - The man accused of killing four people at a home in Bowdoin and then shooting four vehicles on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth made his initial court appearance Thursday morning at court in West Bath.

Joseph Eaton, of Bowdoin, is charged in the murders of Robert Eger, 72, and Patricia Eger, 62, who were found inside their home along with Joseph Eaton’s mother, Cynthia Eaton.

Outside, police say they found 66-year-old David Eaton, Joseph Eaton’s father, dead in a barn on the property. Maine State Police say all four died of gunshot wounds.

Right now, Joseph Eaton is charged with four counts of murder. More charges could be announced as soon as Thursday.

The initial investigation began Tuesday morning around 9:21 a.m. when police were called to the home on Augusta Road in Bowdoin, finding all four dead.

Watch the full news conference in the video below:

Maine State Police hold press conference

State Police are holding a news conference in Augusta to provide more details about Tuesday’s shootings in Bowdoin and Yarmouth.

Posted by WABI TV5 on Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Around 10:30 a.m., after the discovery in Bowdoin, reports began to come in of cars being hit by gunfire on I-295 near exits 15 and 17/East Main Street in Yarmouth.

The southbound section of the interstate was quickly shut down in the area as a large police presence descended upon the scene.

In total, three people were shot while driving along the highway.

Sean Halsey, 51, and his two children, Justin Halsey and Paige Halsey, were all taken to Maine Medical Center. Paige Halsey remains in critical condition.

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 Wednesday.

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.