Joseph Eaton to Enter Plea for Killing Parents and Friends in Maine Shooting Spree

Joseph Eaton to Enter Plea for Killing Parents and Friends in Maine Shooting Spree

Joseph Eaton, who confessed to killing his parents and two friends before shooting at motorists, will enter pleas to resolve his criminal case in a change-of-plea hearing.

Florida, Bollywood Fever: Joseph Eaton, who confessed to killing his parents and two of their friends before shooting at motorists on a highway, plans to enter pleas on Monday that will resolve his criminal case, his lawyer said. Eaton had withdrawn his insanity defense late last year, and his defense attorney informed The Associated Press that they anticipate “resolving” the indictments for four counts of murder and other charges during a change-of-plea hearing.

Prosecutors have declined to comment on any potential plea agreement ahead of the court hearing.

Joseph Eaton to Enter Plea for Killing Parents and Friends in Maine Shooting Spree

Law enforcement officials reported that Eaton confessed to the killings on a property in rural Bowdoin, Maine, and to wounding three more people while shooting at vehicles on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth. The shootings occurred days after Eaton was released from prison for unrelated crimes. He has been jailed since his arrest in April 2023 near the chaotic highway scene, where traffic was halted as heavily armed police searched for the gunman.

The victims included Eaton’s parents, Cynthia Eaton, 62, and David Eaton, 66, along with longtime friends Robert Eger, 72, and Patti Eger, 62, the couple who owned the Bowdoin home where they were staying. The family dog was also killed, resulting in an animal cruelty charge.

Following the discovery of the bodies on April 18, 2023, three people were injured when shots were fired on I-295 in Yarmouth, about 12 miles outside Portland, Maine’s largest city. Eaton faced separate indictments because the two shootings occurred in different counties.

Maine Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck described the shootings as “an attack on the soul of our state.” However, the heavy toll of this crime was surpassed months later when an Army reservist, who also lived in Bowdoin, killed 18 people at two locations in Lewiston, marking the state’s deadliest mass shooting.

Police still do not know Eaton’s motive for the slayings. An unsigned note found at the scene of the killings mentioned “someone being freed of pain and that the writer of the note wanted a new life,” according to a criminal affidavit. In jailhouse interviews with the Portland Press Herald, Eaton claimed he was not in control of his actions during the shootings and didn’t understand why he committed them.

Eaton, 35, had a criminal history in Maine, Kansas, and Florida, and had recently completed a prison sentence in Maine for an aggravated assault case. His parents were staying with their friends in Bowdoin after Cynthia Eaton picked up Joseph Eaton from a Maine prison on April 14.

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