AUBURN, Maine — Almost a year after Troy and Dulsie Varney were stabbed to death in their home in Turner, the attorney for the suspect in their murders said his client is not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.
Patrick Maher's attorney, Henry Griffin, told Superior Court Justice Thomas McKeon during a hearing Tuesday that his goal was to prove Maher was not in the right mind when he killed the Varneys.
"What I'm asking the court to do is to issue an order under Title 15 that would commit my client to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services," Griffin said. "As the court knows, it's a locked facility where my client will remain."
Both Griffin and state prosecutors questioned the forensic psychiatrist who evaluated Maher.
Dr. Luke Douglass said Maher's actions are consistent with someone who has schizophrenia and that Maher likely had a psychotic break in February of last year when police say he broke into the Varney's home while they were asleep and stabbed them.
More than 30 family members and friends of the Varneys gathered in the courtroom on Tuesday morning. They said the couple was kind and generous people who made an impact on everyone they met.
"I could create a line of victims from this courtroom all the way back to Turner. The ripple effect of taking these two people out of our community has touched thousands," said Trevor Varney, Troy Varney's brother.
McKeon said he agrees with Maher's plea, though he said he will not officially rule that Maher is not criminally responsible by reason of insanity until the court confirms there is a place available at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta. In the meantime, he will be held at Androscoggin County Jail.