25 Nov. – POLAND – A man died on Thursday and another man was taken into custody after a body was discovered in a trailer on Poplar Drive in Poland.
Witnesses said deputies from the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Maine State Police began investigating the scene at 14 Poplar Drive Thursday morning after nighttime disturbances were reported at the small trailer off Hardscrabble Road.
According to witnesses, the police found a man dead in the trailer and his brother still in the house.
At about 6 p.m. Thursday, police arrested Justin Butterfield, 34, of 14 Poplar Drive. He was arrested on a murder charge at Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office headquarters at 2 Turner St. in Auburn, where he had been taken for questioning.
According to a neighbour, after being placed in police custody, the suspect sat on the steps in front of his trailer, spattered with blood, smiling broadly and giggling to himself.
The neighbor and other witnesses declined to be disclosed.
At 6:30 p.m., state police were still on the scene, where yellow crime scene tape had been used to cordon off the area.
“Detectives and evidence answering technicians will be processing the crime scene throughout the evening,” said Shannon Moss, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
The victim was not named, although friends of the family said Butterfield’s oldest brother had been killed. Neighbors said Butterfield had lived there for a long time and would take his brother in if he had nowhere else to go.
Neighbors said they were especially familiar with Justin Butterfield. Police were often called to the scene, neighbors said, for disturbances involving Butterfield, many of whom described as having a documented mental illness.
When neighbors had visitors, one man said, they were quick to warn their guests to stay away from him and his caravan. Another woman said she would make sure to lock her doors and windows if he walked by.
“We wouldn’t let the girls play up front,” she said, “especially not unless they had the dog with them.”
Several sources said Butterfield thought he was The Terminator, from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie of the same name. They also said the body found in the trailer on Thursday morning was badly mutilated.
A friend of both Butterfield and the victim said Butterfield had been in and out of institutions for years. His family, the man said, would always try to hold Butterfield longer when it came time for his release. Time and time again, they said, Butterfield would be released after just days, often without medication.
Thursday’s murder was shocking, friends said, but not surprising.
“He absolutely loved his brother,” said family friend Nate Howard of Auburn. “I’m just stunned that he would do something like that to someone he loved with all his heart. But at the same time, we knew something like that would happen.”
Howard was once roommates with both Butterfield and his brother. He said Butterfield had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and often believed that people were out to get him, or that he was being attacked by creatures from other star systems.
Just days ago, Howard said, Butterfield was under investigation for breaking into the home of Yaicha Provencher, Butterfield’s ex-girlfriend and mother of his son, but was not arrested or remanded in custody despite his history of behavior described as bizarre . And similar things have been happening for years, according to Provencher, who also has custody of Butterfield’s daughter.
“There have been so many calls for help, so many hospital stays,” Provencher said Thursday night. “But nobody listens. It’s not because of not having a support system, because he had one.”
She said Butterfield had a psychiatrist and that he was assigned a guardian ad litem to manage Butterfield’s relationships with his two children. In addition, many relatives and friends often called hospitals, mental health facilities and police departments to help him.
They would tell police, mental health officials or others that Butterfield was a danger to himself and the community, Provencher said. But the longest he was held in protective custody was six days.
Like Howard, Provencher said Butterfield adored his older brother, the man he is now accused of murdering.
“That wasn’t him,” Provencher said. “That was his mental illness.”
The state police are leading the investigation into the murder, as is protocol for homicides in most cities and towns in Maine.