Man who killed father in Masardis wins release from state custody

6 years ago

AUGUSTA, Maine — Michael MacDonald, who was found not criminally responsible for the 2004 murder of his father in Masardis, was released by a judge from state custody Thursday after officials determined he has been rehabilitated.

Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Donald Marden released MacDonald, age 40, without restrictions following his petition to be released from the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2005, an Aroostook County Superior Court judge ruled that MacDonald was “not criminally responsible by mental disease” for the shooting and stabbing death of his father, also named Michael, at the family’s home in Masardis. MacDonald was committed to the state-run Riverview Psychiatric Hospital in Augusta, where he received inpatient treatment until 2013. Since then, he has been receiving outpatient treatment and living under supervision of Riverview staff, first in a group home and later in an independent apartment.

Riverview psychiatrist Dr. Carolyn Criss testified Thursday in the Augusta courtroom that MacDonald was treated for mental illness and substance abuse, and that he “transformed over the last decade into a mature adult who has goals and is focused on making a life for himself,” the Kennebec Journal reported. Criss said that MacDonald no longer has psychotic symptoms and that he no longer takes antipsychotic medication, the newspaper reported.

Michael MacDonald Jr. (Photo by Beurmond Banville)

Forensic psychologist Ann LeBlanc testified that MacDonald “was basically unsocialized” at the time of the murder and that he had never had positive adult relationships, according to the Kennebec Journal report. MacDonald has since made friendships, held a job and saved money for a car, LeBlanc said.

MacDonald said at the hearing that he is in contact with his mother’s family, but not his father’s family, and that he does not plan to return to Aroostook County, the newspaper reported.

MacDonald’s sister and his son objected to his release from state custody. His son’s letter was not made public in court, according to the Kennebec Journal.

Bo Knight, the other child of the late Michael MacDonald, said in a letter to the court that she was opposed to her brother’s release from state custody out of concern for the safety of family in Maine and other New England states. Knight, who lives in Kentucky and was not at the court hearing Thursday, said she has suffered from post-traumatic stress related to the 2004 murder.

“I still have nightmares from the experience. I have friends and family in Aroostook County that I worry about,” Knight previously told The Star-Herald.