AUGUSTA — The Winthrop teenager accused of stabbing his parents to death last year had gender identity issues and “did not believe his parents would be supportive,” a forensic psychologist testified Wednesday at a hearing to determine whether Andrew T. Balcer should face trial as an adult.

Meanwhile, officials played dramatic audio Wednesday in which Balcer himself told a 911 dispatcher that he had “snapped” but didn’t know why.

Balcer, now 18, has been charged with two counts of intentional or knowing murder for the deaths of his parents, Antonio and Alice Balcer, both 47. He was a month shy of turning 18 when the slayings took place about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 31, 2016, at their 10 Pine Knoll Road home.

The state wants the teen tried as an adult. Balcer’s defense attorney, Walter McKee, says the teen should remain in the juvenile system. They will argue that issue in front of the judge Thursday. Judge Eric Walker said he anticipated issuing a ruling later in writing.

Debra Baeder, chief forensic psychologist with the State Forensic Service, who evaluated Balcer several times over the past year, hinted at a motive for the killings by saying Balcer repressed his emotions, but they festered.

She said he was suicidal — and made several attempts to commit suicide — and “harbored some homicidal inclinations towards his parents.”


Baeder testified that Balcer told her, “I was an embarrassment; I shouldn’t have been alive.”

Baeder also said Balcer recounted an argument with his father after Antonio Balcer made a derogatory comment about a transgender person.

“He thought it could get physically confrontational if his father knew” about Balcer’s own struggles, she said.

Baeder said that Balcer was bright, that he was emotionally repressed and that he had been treated for depression a year or two before the slayings, but that he did not bond well with the counselor.

During Wednesday’s hearing, audio was played of both 911 calls that followed the Halloween morning killings and of Balcer’s interview with police. Balcer himself phoned police after the slayings.

“I snapped,” Balcer said. “I don’t know why.”


Balcer, in a separate 911 recording also played Wednesday, said he stabbed his mother, then stabbed his father when his father woke up upon hearing his wife’s screams.

Balcer told police a few hours after the slayings that he had stabbed his mother as she hugged him, according to an interview with police played in court Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center. A half dozen of Balcer’s relatives sat in the courtroom and listened to the entire hearing.

On the recording, Balcer told police his mother was hugging him in his bedroom to try to comfort him when he plunged a knife into her back.

The 17-year-old continued to stab her as she fell onto his bed and then finally to the floor.

When his father ran into the bedroom, Balcer attacked him with the same knife, and their struggle left a trail of blood through to the kitchen, where Antonio Balcer died face-up on the floor.

That was how Balcer described the scene at the family’s home. The chief medical examiner testified Wednesday that Alice Balcer was stabbed nine times and Antonio Balcer, 13 times.



In the audio played at court, Balcer also talked about walking downstairs with the knife and his father’s handgun to confront his older brother, Christopher, then 25, who was trying to call the police. Balcer said his brother asked him to spare him, so he let him leave.

Balcer recalled killing Lily, the family’s Chihuahua, to stop her barking that morning.

“I did not plan to stab the dog,” he said on the recording. “The dog was an unfortunate collateral damage. I had no intention of hurting any of the animals there.”

Balcer recounted the events to Maine State Police detectives who interviewed him about the two homicides several hours later at the Winthrop Police Department.

Maine State Police Detective Abbe Chabot played a recording of that interview.


On it, Balcer tells them he doesn’t know why he did it; and when questioned about whether his brother was involved, he said he wasn’t. “It was my own planning and my own actions.”

Balcer also said, “My brother was the only one who would listen to what I said there.”

He described his mother as “condescending” to him and said his father “didn’t care. He’s a guy who lives in my house and eats all my food.”

He also talked about hearing an occasional “tone” in his head that affects his thinking.

“I figured it’s 13 kilohertz, just a high-pitched, constant tone,” he said, adding that it was present around the time of the slaying as well.

He said he concocted the plan while in his room, went to the dining room of the home about 1:30 a.m. to get his Ka-Bar knife — which he used for gutting animals while hunting — and then went into the bedroom where his parents were sleeping.


His mother woke up — he said she didn’t see the knife in his hand — and accompanied him to his room. Balcer said he “felt affection” for his mother when she hugged him, but then he stabbed her and “I don’t know why I did what I did there.”

He said he really couldn’t remember what happened until he found himself standing with knife in hand over his father’s dead body.

“I just realized I just straight up murdered both of my parents there,” Balcer said. He told the detectives, “I know I should be having some sort of guilt or remorse, but honestly, at (the) moment I just don’t feel much of anything.”

Balcer said that when the adrenaline wore off later, he felt sick to his stomach.


Assistant Attorney General Robert “Bud” Ellis first offered into evidence a recording of a 911 call by Balcer, saying the killings were committed “in a very heinous manner.”


After telling the dispatcher what happened, Balcer says he’s sure both parents are dead.

“There’s no helping them,” he says.

Ryan Frost, who was police chief in Winthrop at the time and is now town manager, said Balcer’s demeanor was “matter-of-fact” when Frost arrived at the home.

Another Winthrop police Officer, Tyler Nadeau, who was one of the first officers to arrive and took Balcer into custody, described him as “just kind of shaking” and smiling.

Nadeau said the cruiser’s radio was on, and they could hear 911 calls from a number of homes on Pine Knoll Road where his brother Christopher Balcer, then 25, had sought refuge.

“My brother’s going to need help,” Balcer told Nadeau.


McKee did not question any of the state’s witnesses about what had happened at the scene. McKee said at the outset of the hearing that the defense would focus primarily on opposing “having this then-17-year-old treated in the adult system” rather than on the issue of probable cause.

By 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, Walker ruled that the state had provided enough evidence to show that the Balcers were dead and that there was probable cause to believe that their son, Andrew Balcer, “was the person who executed them, basically, in their homes.”

With that conclusion, the burden shifted to the defense to show why the teen should not be tried as an adult. McKee wants the charges against the teen kept in the juvenile justice system.

Baeder, the forensic psychologist, also weighed in on whether Balcer should remain in the juvenile justice system — where the focus is on rehabilitation — or in the adult criminal justice system.

“I am concerned that his risk to public safety may not be adequately addressed in the time left in the juvenile system,” Baeder said, noting that juveniles can be kept in that system only up to age 21.

When the hearing began, members of the news media were permitted to use electronics in the courtroom, something prohibited previously.


Balcer, wearing a long-sleeved white dress shirt and dark tie and trousers, with his shoulder-length, dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, listened quietly as Walker initially explained the court process.

However, after a lunch break, McKee told Walker that Balcer did not want to remain at court for the playing of the remainder of the three-hour interview recording or for Baeder’s testimony.

“He does wish to be here tomorrow morning,” McKee said.

Balcer answered several questions from the judge and indicated he understood that he had the right to be in court but opted against it. Balcer said that he had a transcript of the recordings and had read a copy of Baeder’s report.

At that point, he left.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

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