POLAND — A man died and another in police custody on Thursday after a body was found in a trailer on Poplar Drive in Poland.
Witnesses said Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office deputies and members of the Maine State Police began investigating the scene at 14 Poplar Drive on Thursday morning after late-night disturbances were reported in the little trailer off Hardscrabble Road.
Inside the trailer, according to witnesses, police found a man dead and his brother still inside the house.
Justin Butterfield Photo of Androscoggin County Jail
At around 6 p.m. Thursday, police arrested Justin Butterfield, 34, of 14 Poplar Drive. He was arrested for murder at the 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 taken into custody, the suspect sat on the stairs in front of his trailer, stained with blood, smiling broadly and laughing to himself.
The neighbor and other witnesses did not wish to be identified.
As of 6:30 p.m., state police were still at the scene, where yellow crime scene tape had been used to cordon off the area.
“Detectives as well as evidence response technicians will be handling the scene throughout the evening,” said Shannon Moss, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
The victim was not named, although family friends said Butterfield’s older brother was killed. Neighbors said Butterfield had lived there for a long time and would take in his brother when he had nowhere to go.
The neighbors said they particularly knew Justin Butterfield. Police were often called to the scene, neighbors said, for troubles involving Butterfield, who many described as having documented mental illness.
When neighbors had visitors, a man said they were quick to warn their guests to stay away from him and his trailer. Another woman said she would make sure to lock her doors and windows when he passed.
“We wouldn’t let the girls play in front,” she said, “and not at all unless they had the dog with them.”
Multiple sources said Butterfield believed he was The Terminator, from the Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name. They also said the body found inside the trailer on Thursday morning had been badly mutilated.
A friend of Butterfield and the victim said Butterfield had been in and out of institutions for years. His family, the man said, would still try to have Butterfield held longer upon his release. Time and again, they said, he was released after a few 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 upset that he would do something like this to someone he loved with all his heart. But at the same time, we knew something like this was coming.
Howard was once roommates with Butterfield and his brother. He said Butterfield had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and often believed that people wanted to catch him or that he was being attacked by creatures from other galaxies.
Just days ago, Howard said, Butterfield was investigated for breaking into the home of Yaicha Provencher, his ex-girlfriend – and mother of his son – but did not been arrested or taken into custody, despite his history of bizarre behavior. And similar things have been happening for years, according to Provencher, who also has custody of Butterfield’s daughter.
“There have been so, so many calls for help, so many hospital stays,” she said Thursday evening. “But no one is listening. It’s not for lack of a support group because he had one.
She said Butterfield had a mental health counselor and a guardian ad litem had been appointed to manage Butterfield’s relationship with her two children. On top of that, many friends and family members often called hospitals, mental health facilities, and police departments asking for help.
They would tell police, mental health officials or others that Butterfield was a danger to himself and the community, she said. However, the longest period of his preventive detention was six days.
Like Howard, Provencher said Butterfield absolutely adores his older brother, the man he is now accused of killing.
“It wasn’t him,” she said. “It was his mental illness.”
State police were leading the investigation, as was protocol in homicide cases in most Maine cities and towns.
Further details of the death were not released Thursday evening.
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