Maine homicides hold steady in 2020 despite rising numbers nationwide
By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News Staff
Twenty-two people died in homicides in Maine in 2020, including three who were killed in a Washington County shooting spree. That is the same number of homicide victims in 2019 and one fewer than in 2018.
Among the deaths is Linda Coffman, 73, from Aug. 26 in Greenville. Coffman and her husband were both found dead inside their Beech Street residence and the death was ruled a murder-suicide.
No charges were brought in two of this year’s homicides. Police are still investigating three cases.
Maine has averaged 22 homicides a year over the last 10 years, with about half related to domestic violence.
In recent years, the highest number of homicides occurred in 2008, when 31 Maine residents were killed. That year, five of the victims were children under the age of 3.
Eighteen deaths were listed as homicides in 2016, the lowest number during the past decade.
Maine bucked a national trend that showed more than a 20 percent increase in killings in the first nine months of the year, according to FBI statistics.
In Maine, six of the homicides were classified as domestic-violence related — including the Greenville death — the fewest so designated in the past decade. Ten of the 22 homicides in 2019 and nine of the 23 in 2018 were domestic violence related.
The state characterizes a case as a domestic violence homicide when a family member kills another family member or intimate partner.
Due to the coronavirus, jury trials are not being scheduled in early 2021. It is unlikely that defendants charged with homicides in 2020 will see their cases resolved until 2022 or 2023.
The number of homicides in Maine in 2020 have been tabulated by Maine Department of Public Safety and the Bangor Daily News. Some of the people who died in the killings include:
Anielka Allen, 37, who was strangled Jan. 9 inside her home in Newport. Her husband Frederick Allen Jr., 41, of Newport has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Demetrius Snow, 25, of Bangor, who died Feb.1 from stab wounds in the parking lot of a Harlow Street nightclub. Rayshaun Moore, 35, of Bangor has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Shawn Currey, 57 of Machias, Jennifer Bryant-Flynn, 49, and Samuel Powers, 33, who were shot and killed at their respective homes in Machias and Jonesboro on Feb. 3. A fourth shooting victim survived. Thomas G. Bonfanti, 64, of Northfield has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and elevated aggravated assault.
Roger Feltis, 28, who was stabbed to death June 14 at the Vinalhaven home of Dorian Ames, 27, and Briannah Ames, 29. In July, the Knox County grand jury declined to indict the couple on any charges in connection with Feltis’ death.
Pauline Taylor, 63, who was shot and killed Aug. 19 in her Transalpine Road lake house in Lincoln. Her son, Adam Groves, 45, is charged with murder in her death.
Natasha Morgan, 19, of Lewiston, who was shot to death Aug. 21 outside her mother’s home in Lewiston during a dispute over a baby. Jaquile Coleman, 26, of Lewiston has pleaded not guilty to murder in the domestic violence incident.
Richard Bowden and Tina Bowden, both 64, who were shot and killed Oct. 5 in their home in Waldo in an alleged dispute over her step-father’s estate. Her brother, Glenn Brown, 66, of Benton has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.
Wayne Morrill, 66, of Robbinston, who died Oct. 7 from smoke inhalation after his home was allegedly intentionally set on fire. Charles “Chip” Townsend, 32, of Robbinston, has been charged with arson and murder.
Derek Blyth, 42, who was shot to death Oct. 24 in a Brunswick Street apartment in Old Town. The Maine Attorney General’s office declined to file charges in the case.
Syies Adams, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, who was killed Dec. 10 in a house at 1702 Union St. in Bangor. Police continue to investigate his death.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.