An Aroostook County man who was convicted on two counts of murder three decades ago has died in prison.

Robert William Forrest, 72, formerly of Island Falls, died around 2:47 a.m. Wednesday at the Maine State Prison in Warren. Forrest was serving a 55-year sentence for murdering his wife and their 3-year-old son in June 1986.

Forrest began serving his sentence on May 31, 1989, according to a statement issued Wednesday by Dr. Joseph Fitzpatrick, commissioner for the Maine Department of Corrections.

Fitzpatrick said that department protocol requires that the Maine Attorney General’s Office, the Maine State Police and the state medical examiner be notified of any prisoner deaths. Fitzpatrick did not provide details on the cause of death.

Forrest was quoted in a January 2014 Press Herald story that focused on 12 inmates who had written letters to their younger selves. The letters, filled with self-recrimination, were superimposed over photographic portraits of the inmates.

Those portraits were part of an exhibit on display at the Engine gallery in Biddeford. “Reflect: Convicts’ Letters to Their Younger Selves,” was created by Trent Bell, a commercial photographer. At the time, Bell said the exhibit sought to offer viewers lessons that might prevent such crimes.

Of the 900 inmates invited to write a letter, only 12 agreed to participate.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs help at some point in their life,” Forrest said in a video for the exhibit. “I always thought I was strong enough and I don’t need help … and here I sit.”

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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