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Jury selection starting in double-killing trial in western Maine

Mark Penley is charged with murder in the January 2019 deaths of Heather Bickford and Dana Hill in Paris.

PARIS, Maine — Jury selection is getting underway in the trial of a man accused of a double killing in western Maine.

Mark Penley is charged in the fatal shootings of his ex-girlfriend, 31-year-old Heather Bickford, of Canton, and 31-year-old Dana Hill, at Hill’s apartment in Paris.

Penley told a 911 dispatcher that he arrived at the home to visit his children when he discovered the bodies on Jan. 1, 2019.

Court documents state that when police arrived they found Penley inside the apartment holding Bickford's infant child. Her 8-year-old daughter was on the couch.

Penley, according to court documents, told police he had gone to the apartment at 24 Market Sq. to see his children and found "them" dead. The dispatcher asked for clarification as to who he was talking about, and Penley said he found Bickford and Hill dead. Officers then responded.

According to court documents, investigators at separate times observed loose cartridges and a box of .22-caliber ammunition in Penley's vehicle; a black handgun in Bickford's right hand and five casings and one cartridge on the bedroom floor, and three casings and one cartridge in the living room.

Witnesses listed in the court documents also detailed Penley’s jealousy of Bickford and Hill’s relationship, and his drawn-out preparations to quote “blow his whole paycheck on bullets and kill them both."

An ex-girlfriend of Mark Penley told police Penley constantly issued threats toward Bickford. One threat issued was, "if I can't have Heather, no one can have her."

According to court documents, Bickford texted her landlord, a local court marshall, on Sunday, Dec. 30, asking if the courthouse would have a judge available on Monday, Dec. 31, so she could apply for a protection from abuse order against Penley because he was "bugging her." The landlord told Bickford the courthouse would be closed Monday.

An autopsy revealed Bickford was shot five times and Hill three times.