AUGUSTA — Andrew Balcer would take back the bloodshed during the darkness of early Halloween morning two years ago.

The moment he snapped, plunging a hunting knife into his mother’s back as she comforted him in his bedroom. The stabbing of his father after that, and slaying of the family Chihuahua, leaving only his brother to survive the horror inside the family’s Winthrop home.

“In a heartbeat,” Balcer would “take it all back.”

“Only a monster would not feel remorse at that kind of thing,” Balcer said Friday in a wide-ranging interview at the Kennebec County jail in Augusta. “I’m not happy that all of this happened. It just traded one hell for another.”

Now, days before the 19-year-old is scheduled to plead guilty in court to the grisly killings, Balcer wants the world to know the reasons behind what happened and about the remorse.

Balcer’s motive has only been hinted at previously, with documents and attorneys suggesting Balcer was in the midst of a gender identity crisis.

Balcer — who prefers that fellow inmates, corrections officers and others refer to him as “Andrea” instead of “Andrew,” and “Ms. Balcer” instead of “Mr. Balcer” — confirmed in Friday’s interview that her gender identity crisis was a factor.

But Balcer is raising new allegations of sexual molestation at the hands of Balcer’s mother and physical and mental abuse by Balcer’s father — an apparent preview of arguments she will make in court in seeking leniency for a prison sentence.

Her older brother, Christopher, who has since moved from Maine to Ohio, refuted all of the new abuse allegations in a separate phone interview later Friday.

Andrea Balcer said she knew about her gender identity when she was younger and shared it with her parents when she was 3 or 4 years old. “I wanted to grow up and be a woman,” she said. “They kind of sat me down and told me and kind of physically forced into me that that was something that was not acceptable.”

Balcer said she never shared that disclosure with her older brother because she feared his reaction after seeing how their parents had reacted.

Later, she started to question her gender identity.

“I spent however many years being raised as a boy, as a man. It was drilled into me what men do, what they’re supposed to be. I was never raised the way I wanted to be. So I am conflicted between the person that I was raised to be and the person who I want to be.”

Christopher Balcer said in a previous interview, months after the murders, that he believed his parents would have supported his brother no matter what the gender he chose.

Sitting on the other side of two tables Friday afternoon in a visiting room at the Augusta jail, Balcer occasionally stopped speaking and inhaled deeply in an effort to remain composed while talking about life before “the incident” and life after. A lock of her dark hair fell over her left eye and curled up at the end.

Balcer said she wants “people to kind of realize that my family seemed almost perfect on the outside: mother, father, two kids, a couple of animals.

“Nobody really thought there was anything going on. No one would think that two respectable people would ever do or have done such things. I just want people to know that even when something seems perfect, there might be something much more worse going on underneath.”

ABUSE ALLEGATIONS

Antonio and Alice Balcer, both 47, were found stabbed to death Oct. 31, 2016. Balcer, then a month shy of turning 18, was arrested and charged that same day and later ruled to be treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.

Debra Baeder, chief forensic psychologist with the State Forensic Service, who evaluated Balcer several times, testified that Balcer had gender identity problems and “did not believe his parents would be supportive.”

Balcer, in a 911 recording played in court almost a year ago, said he stabbed his mother, then stabbed his father when his father woke up upon hearing his wife’s screams.

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 and 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 the struggle left a trail of blood through to the kitchen, where Antonio Balcer died face-up on the floor.

On Friday in the jail, Balcer said the words her mother whispered chilled her and caused her to snap.

“She was kind of overly affectionate,” Balcer said.

At age 14, Balcer said, she had come home from school and Dad was gone — either deployed or at a function for one of the motorcycle clubs he belonged to. “My mother got home from work, and she just kind of started with a hug and a kiss and she took it too far, you know,” Balcer said, adding that sexual molestation continued until she was about 16, and she told no one about it.

When Alice Balcer came into Andrea’s bedroom to comfort Andrea, the younger Balcer was sitting on the bed, shaking, and holding a hunting knife that had been a gift from Christopher, with a “tone” going through her head — something she had described earlier to Baeder and to detectives as “a high-pitched, constant tone” that appeared once a week for two or three years, and appeared again the morning of the slayings.

Balcer, in the Friday interview, did not elaborate on the “tone” she heard, but she said the killings were not planned.

Balcer told detectives she had stopped by her parents’ bedroom about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 31, “reached out my hand to my mother” and “she hugged me around the neck.” Then Balcer says her mother asked, “Are you having a rough night? Come on, we’ll go to your room and sleep in there.'”

“She hugged me,” Balcer said in the Friday interview at the jail, “and she whispered in my ear, ‘Do you want me to make everything better?’ And I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I must have been having a nightmare of all the things that had happened to me up ’til then.”

Andrea Balcer alleges she was abused in other ways by her father.

“My father always kind of scared me,” she said, and recounted an incident on her 16th birthday when her father picked up his .357 revolver and walked over to Balcer.

“He points the gun to my chest, pulls back the hammer and pulls the trigger. The gun was unloaded, but I did not know that at the time. He just laughs and says, ‘Happy birthday,'” and called her an expletive.

Andrea Balcer also said Antonio Balcer struck her. “He called it disciplining me,” Andrea Balcer said. “He never, like, close-fisted hit me,” she said, describing it as an open-handed smack. “It was always on the back or the top of the head, where it wouldn’t leave noticeable marks.”

Christopher Balcer’s immediate reaction to hearing those allegations was, “No. No. No. No. No. That is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard in my life. The man never would have laid a hand on either of us.”

Andrea Balcer said her mother frightened her too, recounting a time when the family had a dozen cats and they were fighting.

“My mother picked one up by the scruff of the neck and started whaling on it in the stomach.” Andrea Balcer said that behavior was at odds with the view she and most people held of Ali Balcer, a woman who loved animals and her work at a humane society shelter and later an animal clinic.

Andrea Balcer also described Christopher locking himself in the basement bathroom after Ali Balcer saw a letter indicating he had dropped out of college classes.

“My mother banged on the door a bit and took her foot and put three or four holes in the bottom of the door just trying to get to my brother.”

Christopher Balcer said Friday that there were “some glimmers of truth” in the latter two examples, but he said they were not as dramatic or intense as his brother described. He said his mother was “swatting” the cat for bad behavior and that his mother had come home ill from work on the day she discovered he had been pretending to go his classes. He said the situation was defused rapidly.

He also said he had been made aware several months ago of the sexual abuse allegations against his mother.

Andrea Balcer said she described none of the sexual molestation or abuse incidents to counselors or anyone else at school or even his brother, because she was too afraid of the consequences.

“My parents had raised me to kind of think that family comes first,” she said. “You don’t do anything to make the family look bad, to hurt the family, nothing that might damage them or their reputation. So I figured if I came out with any of this, I’d basically be breaking a code that I was brought up to live by.”

‘INHUMAN CREATURE’

Even as she described the new abuse allegations, Andrea Balcer also recounted happy times: hunting with her father, and visiting Isle of Springs on the coast and Sugarloaf for skiing with her mother and brother.

Andrea Balcer said she and Christopher were close. “My brother and I both trusted each other,” she said.

Andrea Balcer spared Christopher that Halloween morning and let him flee after Christopher said he wanted to live.

“Either a month or a couple months before, he must have been irritated with the family in some matter and he said to me jokingly, ‘Andrew, if you snap, just ask me if I want to die that day.’ I must have had that in mind when I was going through the whole thing.”

Andrea Balcer says she wrote a letter to Christopher Balcer from jail, saying, “I was sorry for everything. I love him very much and I would change everything if I could.”

Christopher Balcer responded with a letter of his own, and provided an e-mailed copy of that to the Kennebec Journal.

In it, he writes, “If you truly had a single shred of kindness or compassion for other human beings, as you proclaim to have for me, you would not have brutally murdered both of our parents.

“I still hear our dearest mother’s screams, every night as I fall asleep. Every morning as I awaken, they echo in my head. Her screams as she was stabbed by the son she doted on so much, the son she only wanted the world for, and would accept nothing less. I remember the foul things you accused her of, and the looks of horror upon the family’s faces as they heard about them. You are an inhuman creature and the fact that you continue to pretend otherwise sickens me.”

Andrea Balcer said her family support nowadays comes largely from her maternal grandfather, who visited Balcer frequently when she was held at Long Creek Youth Development Center, and now comes to the Kennebec County jail. “And I am very grateful for his support,” Balcer said.

Two friends also wrote Balcer previously, but they stopped writing.

Balcer says the college courses she took in Long Creek are no longer available and that she does not use the computers in the jail.

On Friday, she apologized for her voice, saying she had been singing for half an hour as a stress reliever just before the interview.

She has not attempted suicide in the adult jail, but said she tried twice at Long Creek. “That seemed like the only way out at the time,” Balcer said.

Now, “I’m resigned to what’s coming.”

“It’s like a thunderstorm on the horizon. You know what’s coming and there’s not a thing you can do about it.”

Andrea Balcer said she has no illusions about what will happen at sentencing. While she says she wishes she would be set free, she expects a sentence of some 55 years in prison.

Balcer is scheduled for a Rule 11 change of plea proceeding at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center in front of Justice Daniel Billings. Balcer previously had pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging intentional and knowing murders of Antonio and Alice Balcer and to aggravated cruelty to animals for the slaying of the family dog.

Balcer’s attorney, Walter McKee, said via email he was unaware his client had been interviewed by the Kennebec Journal at the jail.

McKee said via email last week that Balcer “will be entering guilty pleas to all charges. Sentencing will be in October, I expect.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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