A man facing a murder charge in Washington County died in a Portland jail last week.

Darren Laney Jr., 37, had been in custody since March 2022, after police said he stabbed his father, Darren Laney Sr., to death with a pair of scissors.

It’s unclear why Laney was at the Cumberland County Jail. He was transferred there in July from Washington County, where his case was still pending. A trial had not been scheduled as of March 1.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office announced the death last week, but did not identify the inmate. A corrections officer found Laney unresponsive in his cell last Friday morning while doing routine rounds, the sheriff’s office said. The jail’s medical unit tried and failed to revive him.

The jail turned over its investigation to the attorney general’s office and Portland police.

The Office of the Maine Attorney General confirmed Thursday that it was Laney who died, but referred questions on his cause of death to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.


“We have performed an autopsy and cause and manner of death are currently pending further studies,” a spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office said in an email.

A Portland police spokesperson said he could not answer questions about the status of its investigation.

Laney’s family told police two years ago that they were planning to take him to a hospital before he allegedly stabbed his father.

His mother told police she and her husband picked Laney up that morning from a gas station on Main Street in Baileyville. Laney was making “bizarre remarks” in the car, police wrote in an affidavit, including that “something bad was going to happen to them all when they returned home.”

Laney’s parents agreed to go home before taking him to the hospital to “see if he settled down,” the affidavit states. His mother said she was in her bedroom when she heard Laney’s father shout, “he’s stabbing me” and “you’re stabbing your father,” the affidavit states.

According to police records, Laney said he had attacked his dad in self-defense after he confronted his father about sexual abuse Laney said he suffered as a child. Police said they didn’t see any visible marks that confirmed Laney’s father had attacked him.

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