I am writing to express disappointment with the headline, “Waterville 1996 nun-killer dies in Freeport.”

While the article itself was a reasonably balanced view of Mark Bechard’s life, and educated the public about our broken mental health system and about ALS, the headline reduced Bechard to the worst thing he ever did.

I acknowledge his horrific act of murder and the pain and suffering those actions caused this community, but I knew Mark before mental illness twisted his fine mind. We were friends in junior and senior high school. We rode bikes together when we were young teens and later played music together in band.

He played the romantic lead in a high school play. He introduced me to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings.” He was funny and kind and took me on some really fun dates. His smile was broad and infectious. His family is delightful and were always nice to me as we navigated through our teenage years.

“Waterville native ravaged by mental illness dies after battle with ALS” doesn’t sell papers, but it would have been better for your article.

Susan Hardwicke Jackson


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