Investigators walk around the scene in Bowdoin where police say Joseph Eaton killed four people, including his parents.  Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The man accused of killing four people in Bowdoin and shooting three others on Interstate 295 on Tuesday had been released from prison days earlier and posted several messages on Facebook about his struggles and desire for forgiveness.

Joseph Eaton, 34, will appear in District Court in West Bath at 10:30 a.m. Thursday to face murder charges in the deaths of his parents, Cynthia Eaton, 62, and David Eaton, 66, of Florida, and family friends Robert Eger, 72, and Patti Eger, 62.

Joseph Eaton Facebook photo

When Joseph Eaton was released from the Maine Correctional Center in Windham on Friday, his mother picked him up at the prison and brought him to stay with the Egers at their home in Bowdoin, police said at a news conference Wednesday.

The families are closely linked online. In a 2018 post, Joseph Eaton wrote, “Thank you to all of my family and friends that stuck by me through the hardest of times. You are the ones that showed me true love.” To which Patti Eager commented, “We love you!!”

The day before the shooting deaths of the Egers and his parents, Eaton took to Facebook again.

“Life as a whole is suffering. You work for the duration, you get sick, people you love die, and you’re guaranteed to have ‘bad days.’ You die and lose everything you spent your life obtaining. There is more to it than meets the eye. Life is a trial for what is to come,” Eaton wrote on Facebook on Monday.


The same day, Eaton posted a video saying he was “scared to death about what people would say” about it. In the video, he is crying as he talks about how people “claim to be Christian and can’t forgive somebody or understand what they go through.”

“You can’t give someone a second chance, but you say you’re a Christian. How does that make sense? Why can’t you just try to take it slow, try to get to know the person. What good’s it do to hate somebody? It destroys you,” he said.

Eaton goes on to ask for forgiveness and to say he’s been dealing with trauma.

“Being molested and stuff you know, it destroys somebody,” he said. “I know I’m good for my kids, and I just wish someone would forgive me.”

He does not say whose forgiveness he is seeking.

On Wednesday, police said one of the I-295 victims, Paige Halsey, 25, remained in critical condition at Maine Medical Center. The other two victims – her father, Sean Halsey, 51, and brother, Justin Halsey, 29 – had non-life-threatening injuries.


There was no apparent connection between Eaton and the Halseys before Tuesday’s shooting. Police said that he told investigators he shot at the vehicles on the interstate because he thought he was being followed by police.


Eaton’s criminal history in Maine, Florida and Kansas dates to 2008 and includes convictions for felony aggravated assault, domestic violence assault and violence against a law enforcement officer, according to jail and court records in both states. He also has served time in prison for possessing a concealed firearm as a convicted felon.

Police take a suspect into custody after a shooting on I-295 south near Yarmouth on Tuesday. Photo by News Center Maine

Maine State Police identified Eaton as a Bowdoin resident on Tuesday, but a criminal background check through the agency showed his last address was at the Maine State Prison in Warren.

Most recently, he was charged with felony assault when he was in the Maine State Prison. He was found guilty in Knox County in March 2022 and sentenced to eight months, according to a criminal background check. His prior convictions in Maine were for felony aggravated assault in 2014, operating under the influence in 2015, and assault and domestic violence assault in 2016.

Court records from his time in Florida detail a history of post-traumatic stress disorder and assault.


In 2018, Eaton pleaded guilty in Nassau County, Florida, to possessing a concealed firearm as a convicted felon and three counts of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer. He was sentenced to three years in prison and paid $518 in court costs and fines, according to court records.

Those charges stem from a call Eaton’s aunt made to the sheriff’s office on Jan. 21, 2018, to report that Eaton was “tearing apart the residence and breaking things,” according to a police report filed in the Nassau County Court.

The aunt told a deputy that Eaton had left the house to retrieve a loaded rifle from her vehicle and she believed that he was going to kill himself, the report said.

Joseph Eaton in a photo posted to his Facebook page last Friday, the day he was released from prison in Maine. Facebook photo

When deputies arrived, they said, Eaton charged at them with a wooden bat. A deputy used a Taser on Eaton and wrestled the bat away from him. After deputies were able to restrain him, Eaton said that he had consumed methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.

At the time, Eaton was on probation stemming from charges in Maine for aggravated assault by strangulation, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to court records.

Eaton’s earliest convictions were in Kansas, where he was arrested in 2008 for burglary and causing fear after receiving notice of a protection order. He was found guilty in 2009 and sentenced to 22 months in jail and two years of probation, according to a background check through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.



The Florida court records show that in 2017 Eaton had undergone an evaluation for mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence, during which he disclosed that he had been treated for PTSD and bipolar disorder. The doctor’s report revealed “lifestyle instability and aggressive and violent behavior toward his ex-wife related to his consumption of alcohol and history of controlling behaviors,” the court records state.

The report said Eaton appeared to be preoccupied with his ex-wife and had outbursts and aggressive behavior. The court recommended that Eaton attend weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or a recovery program and that he complete 26 weeks of a batterers’ intervention program.

After his arrest, Eaton was released from jail and placed on electronic monitoring. During a meeting with his probation officer, Eaton said he was filing a police brutality complaint against the police in Nassau County and reported he had a brain scan scheduled to evaluate a brain injury from a 2017 motorcycle crash, according to court records.

Eaton pleaded guilty on May 31, 2018, and served nearly three years in prison until his release on Feb. 15, 2021, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Between his arrest and guilty plea, Eaton posted on Twitter about police brutality, inmate deaths and holding law enforcement accountable for their actions.

“This is as bad as it gets as far as police corruption goes,” he said in a short video. “People need to be held accountable. This is all this is about. You guys really screwed up when you did this to me and I’m going to make sure your badges are no longer on your chest at the end of this in every legal sense. Game on, guys.”

Eaton did not say what police allegedly did to him, but said he was not getting treatment and had to beg for an ice pack. In a second video posted the same day, Eaton said he was starting a “lifelong fight” that he wanted to be a legacy for both of his sons.

Staff Writer John Terhune contributed to this report. 

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