LEWISTON — A Poland man accused of murdering his brother on Thanksgiving Day is expected to claim he wasn’t in a legally responsible state of mind at the time of the crime.
Justin Butterfield, 34, appeared in 8th District Court on Monday by videoconference from Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn where he will be held pending a hearing on bail and probable cause for his arrest and charge of intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder.
If convicted, he would be sentenced to between 25 years and life in prison.
Judge Tammy Ham-Thompson said she ordered, at the request of prosecutors, a mental evaluation to determine whether Butterfield is competent to stand trial on the murder charge.
The State Forensic Service at the Department of Health and Human Services will determine whether to conduct the evaluation at the jail or at the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.
Ham-Thompson appointed criminal defense attorney Verne Paradie on Monday to represent Butterfield.
Paradie said Butterfield “understands what he’s charged with, (but) he doesn’t necessarily understand why.”
Because Butterfield intends to pursue a defense of insanity or abnormal condition of mind, he likely would be evaluated later by a professional to determine whether he had the state of mind needed at the time of the crime to hold him legally responsible for the slaying of his older brother.
Judge Ham-Thompson on Monday ordered the sealing of an affidavit showing probable cause for Butterfield’s arrest and support of the murder charge.
After conducting an autopsy, the state’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide. No cause of death was released by the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Butterfield’s neighbors and friends told the Sun Journal he has a documented mental illness, was prone to delusions and had been institutionalized before.
He was found by authorities still inside the home along with Damour’s mutilated body.
Butterfield was reportedly close to his brother and had a good relationship with his own son and daughter.
Those who knew him also said he could be frightening and dangerous when off his psychiatric medication.
They said his mental health began to deteriorate about four years ago.
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