WEST BATH — A convicted murderer who was later determined to be not criminally responsible for aggravated assault and trafficking in prison contraband is now accused of threatening his father with a knife.

Mark Ian Gessner, 54, who has been living at Riverview Psychiatric Center, was arrested around midday Sunday at his father’s home in Bath.

A judge in Sagadahoc County on Monday ordered Gessner held on $50,000 bail on the new charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. He was seen at West Bath District Court via video from Two Bridges Regional Jail.

In late May, Gessner won permission from a judge in Kennebec County to have unsupervised time outside the state hospital in Augusta to participate in community activities.

On Monday, the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney A.J. Chalifour, sought the $50,000 bail amount with conditions prohibiting Gessner from having contact with his father, Herbert, and brother, Luke.

An affidavit filed in court by Bath Police Officer Richard Ross, says Ross arrived at the home of Herbert and Luke Gessner 10:50 a.m. Sunday to find the two brothers on the ground, where they had been ordered to remain by another officer.


Luke Gessner told police he and his father had been waiting for Mark Gessner’s arrival because he wanted to get some of his belongings.

“Mark was being verbally abusive toward Herbert from the moment they made eye contact,” Ross wrote. “Luke said that Mark was accusing Herbert of being responsible for some of the events that surrounded Mark committing a murder in Bath over 20 years ago.”

Gessner served 21 years in prison for the shooting death of 74-year-old Bath florist Melvin Henderson in 1994.

The officer said Luke told his father to take Luke’s car and leave, but when Luke handed his keys to Herbert, “Mark told Herbert not to leave in a threatening tone. Mark reached into a backpack that he had brought with him and this made Luke believe that Mark was going to attack Herbert with the knife. Luke grabbed Mark and they tussled until police arrived.”

Ross said the knife “appeared to be a long kitchen knife or hunting knife.”

Chalifour on Monday asked Judge Beth Dobson to impose bail conditions prohibiting Mark Gessner from having knives, firearms and dangerous weapons, and Dobson agreed. Chalifour added that there was no allegation that a firearm was used.


Attorney David Paris, acting as lawyer of the day, said that even if Gessner posted bail, it was unclear whether he would get out or be returned to Riverview.

Gessner, wearing a bright orange jail uniform, could be seen on a monitor sitting next to Paris at a table and Paris spoke to the judge on Gessner’s behalf. The next court date on the new charge is set for Jan. 9, 2019, in West Bath.

Gessner has been at the state’s psychiatric hospital in Augusta since February 2016.

Forensic patients — those committed to Riverview through the criminal justice system — file petitions with the court in Augusta when they seek modifications in the conditions under which they are held, including discharge.

On May 29, Justice William Stokes signed an order authorizing Gessner to participate in “unsupervised unstructured community activities,” described as “walks, shopping, brief periods away from direct supervision while on staff-supervised community activities within 10 miles” of the city for up to two hours per day.

The order also authorized Gessner “to participate in unsupervised structured community activities within 25 miles of Augusta for up to three hours per day” as long as it did not interfere with his treatment.


The order said that “The court finds by clear and convincing evidence that Mark Gessner may be granted a Modified Release Treatment Program without likelihood that he will cause injury to himself or others due to an mental disease or mental defect” and permitted his absence from the hospital.

Mark Gessner also was permitted to be at the residence of Luke Gessner, and to participate, under Luke Gessner’s supervision, in activities within 40 miles of the hospital.

Riverview is required to notify the court, the State Forensic Service, Gessner’s defense attorney and the prosecutor’s office within 48 hours of any alleged violation.

Betty Adams — 621-5631


Twitter: @betadams

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