Rifleman charged in attempted murder

Posted May 20, 2009, at 11:21 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Portland man who was arrested while loading a rifle outside First Parish Church was charged Wednesday with attempted murder of a man attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in the church basement.

Herbert Jones, who made his initial appearance in Cumberland County Superior Court, had been arrested on several lesser charges, including terrorizing, stalking and possession of a firearm in a school zone.

Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz set bail for Jones at $500,000. The lawyer who represented him at the brief hearing said Jones’ assigned lawyer will have the opportunity to seek a bail hearing after he reviews the facts of the case.

Jones, 46, was arrested Monday by an officer at Portland High School, which is next to the church. Officer Stephen Black spotted Jones loading the rifle, drew his gun and ordered Jones to put down his weapon.

Before the hearing, Jones told the Portland Press Herald he suffers from bipolar disorder. He said he wanted to shoot two men attending the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. He said he believed one of the men was a pedophile and the other intended to take advantage of the women he liked.

Police were investigating whether Jones lied about his mental health history on the forms he submitted when he bought two rifles and a shotgun from L.L. Bean.

Bail was set at $1,000 for Walter Begaye, 43, who was in Jones’ car at the time of his arrest. A knife was found under Begaye’s seat and he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

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