AUGUSTA — A Vassalboro man told police that he killed an older Waterville man who had molested him as a child after the man made sexual advances toward him in a car on Thursday night.
Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Monday that 30-year-old Courtney Shea was charged with murdering Thomas Namer, 69, of Waterville, whose body was found behind an abandoned trailer on Riverside Drive, or Route 201, in Vassalboro on Friday morning.
In a police affidavit filed in court Monday and written by Maine State Police detective Abbe Chabot, Shea alleges that Namer, the victim, often gave rides and purchased cigarettes, alcohol and drugs for young children in exchange for sexual favors. Shea said Namer had sexually abused him when he was 11 years old, and he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from being sexually abused earlier in life.
Namer was known for giving rides to people. Friends of his have told the Morning Sentinel that he would often go to Waterville bars and give people rides home at night.
But one of those friends, Dana Oakes, 44, of Waterville, said he doesn’t believe Shea’s allegations against his friend, saying since Namer was known to be gay, he thought made-up charges molestation may enter the murder case.
“Tom is not that way. He would never touch a child,” said Oakes, adding that he met Namer through a cousin when he was 13 years old. “I knew his name was going to be slammed up and down because he’s gay.”
The affidavit says Shea told police that he was drunk when he called Namer to his mother’s home on 2349 Riverside Drive, where he lived, for a ride on Friday night. Shea told police that when Namer made sexual advances toward him and grabbed his genitals, Shea said he “blacked out” and stabbed Namer to death.
After that, Shea said he drove Namer’s car to lower Water Street in Waterville, when he called a friend for a ride. When the friend and his girlfriend went to pick Shea up, the friend told police that Shea told him he “f—ed up” and drove someone’s car to Waterville. The friend said Shea had alcohol with him in the car, and the friend took Shea back to his apartment, where they drank and played video games overnight.
The friend said Shea ended up calling his mother for a ride home to Vassalboro around 4:30 a.m. Friday and left Waterville. On the way home, Shea’s mother, Hazel Rossignol, told police that her son admitted to killing Namer because of the sexual advances, according to the affidavit. During a court appearance Tuesday morning, Shea was ordered held on bail until another court hearing to be scheduled after Thanksgiving.
At 5:45 a.m., Shea’s brother, Robert Varney, told police that Shea woke him up to say he killed Namer and needed help digging a hole to put the body in. Varney said Shea took him outside and showed him the body. After that, Varney said he urged Shea to call 911.
His stepfather, Joseph Rossignol, also told police that Shea asked for his help in getting rid of Namer’s body, but Rossignol said he retreated into his garage to avoid Shea. He was about to call 911, he said, before he learned Shea was calling himself.
Chabot’s affidavit said Shea called 911 at 6:46 a.m., saying there was a dead man next to his home. At the scene, Varney told Sgt. David Bucknam of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office that Shea had killed a man, and Shea told Deputy Galen Estes he got scared after killing the man, so he drove to Waterville.
On Monday afternoon, Rossignol hung up on a reporter after saying he had “no idea” about the case and he wasn’t involved in it.
Maine State Police said Namer’s body was found behind an abandoned mobile home next door to Shea’s home, but the affidavit is unclear on how Namer’s body got from his car to the mobile home, and McCausland said Monday he had no information to supplement the affidavit, “which lays out the state’s case completely,” he said. McCausland has said that Namer’s car was recovered in Waterville.
Shea wasn’t charged with murder until Monday, when he was already in the Kennebec County jail. State police arrested him Friday on a probation violation stemming from a previous robbery charge.
The Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel on Monday filed a public-access request with the Maine Office of the Attorney General seeking the transcript of Shea’s 911 call. Such transcripts are usually public records in Maine, and the Portland Press Herald recently won a court case against the state, which has had a long-standing policy of sealing 911 transcripts in homicide cases. That victory unsealed the transcript of a call made after a Biddeford homicide in late 2012.
McCausland said Shea will make his first court appearance on the murder charge Tuesday morning at Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta. Scott Gurney, an attorney with the Waterville firm of Ferris Gurney & Crook, said he will represent Shea at his initial appearance and Brad Grant, with the same firm, will likely represent Shea at trial. Gurney said he has represented Shea before, but he didn’t know many details of the murder case Monday evening.
Oakes, Namer’s longtime friend, said he would trust any of his three children with Namer, who he said lived alone in Waterville and hadn’t had a partner in many years. He said while Namer would buy alcohol and marijuana occassionally for adult friends, he never bought anything for or had relationships with underage people.
“It’s a cop-out for him,” Oakes said of Shea’s allegations to police. “He’s looking for a way to get off or to cut it down so they’ll have pity for him.”