BIDDEFORD — The wife of a Saco man accused of shooting at her and her mother and burning a house down Tuesday had secured a protection-from-abuse order against him on Monday.
Donald A. Henson, 47, was arrested Tuesday night after a three-hour standoff with police at his mother-in-law’s house at 645 Goodwin Mills Road in Dayton. He is charged with aggravated attempted murder, arson and terrorizing.
Police say he shot at his wife and mother-in-law and set two houses and a pickup truck on fire.
Henson made his initial court appearance Wednesday in Biddeford District Court. Justice Paul Fritzsche did not ask him to enter a plea. Henson was being held in the York County Jail on $250,000 cash bail.
Prosecutors had requested $100,000 bail. Fritzsche said he raised it because of Henson’s “incredibly dangerous behavior.”
Henson did not speak during his arraignment. B.J. Broder, the lawyer representing him, said Henson has post-traumatic stress disorder and is disabled.
Broder said Henson was injured in Iraq in 2009 while working as a civilian contractor and it appears that he doesn’t understand his rights because of his mental state.
In an email sent Tuesday morning to Biddeford District Court, a Saco Police Department representative said officers were concerned about Henson’s potential for “homicidal/suicidal” actions.
Henson had been served the temporary protection-from-abuse order, which required him to stay away from his wife, Kimberly Henson.
“Donald was just in the PD and we have some very deep concerns that this is going to go to crap as Henson is mentally unstable, suffers from PTSD, has access to weapons and a known tendency toward violence,” wrote Court Officer Tammy Jo Girard. “He just left here incredibly angry and we are very concerned about homicidal/suicidal actions.”
In filing for the protection order, Kimberly Henson alleged that her husband had twice pulled a gun on her and was angry with her and her 20-year-old daughter.
She reported that he had displayed a Smith & Wesson in their home on Oct. 3 “to inform me he had full access to it.”
She said her husband stayed at the Togus mental health unit outside Augusta from Oct. 3 to Oct. 10 and came home “extremely angry.”
“He is threatening to kill himself and if I am in the way, me too,” she wrote.
On Sunday, Kimberly and Donald Henson argued about a friend of his who was visiting, according to court records. She said the argument continued Monday when she arrived home and he said he would “rip the house apart” to find his guns.
“I asked him what he needed his gun for and he said he had plans with it,” Kimberly Henson wrote in her request for the protection order. “My daughter and I grabbed a few belongings and left the house.”
Saco police were not notified of the alleged gun incident on Oct. 3, according to the email from Girard.
Assistant District Attorney John Burke told the judge Wednesday that the protection order barred Henson from contacting his wife.
“He said no (expletive) judge would dictate his life,” Burke told Fritzsche.
On Tuesday, Henson went to his house at 2 Maple St. in Saco, gathered weapons, then went in search of his wife at her mother’s house, Burke said.
When he got there, around 3:45 p.m., he threatened to shoot his wife and his mother-in-law, Barbara Curran. “He held the gun to his mother-in-law’s head and said he would kill her,” Burke said.
Henson, who is listed as 6-foot-5 and 380 pounds, repeatedly fired the gun at his wife and mother-in-law, according to court documents.
He set the house and a pickup truck on fire before retreating to an outbuilding on the property, where he stayed until he surrendered, police say.
The house burned to the ground because firefighters couldn’t respond to it during the standoff, police said.
Henson also is suspected of starting a fire at his house in Saco earlier Tuesday. The fire was set in the basement and was extinguished when a water pipe burst, authorities said.
State police and York County sheriff’s deputies initially thought that Henson was firing at them when they arrived at the home in Dayton, police said.
Police now think at least some of the shots came from ammunition that was in the pickup truck and was firing as it burned.
No one was injured in the incident.
Henson is scheduled to appear in York County Superior Court in Alfred on Jan. 18.
Staff Writer Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at: