NEWPORT, Maine — Though still in shock about the events that transpired in her Rutland Road home on Monday night, Sandra Goodrich said Friday she feels blessed by the support she has received from law enforcement officials, friends, family, her church and her employer.
Goodrich said she doesn’t understand why her son, Perley Goodrich Jr., suddenly snapped a few hours after returning home from a Bangor psychiatric hospital.
“He never told me,” she said. “I was just shocked because I expected him to spend a few days in his room,” which is what she said he typically did after returning home from the hospital.
Though Goodrich said her son had been verbally aggressive in the past, he’d never been physically violent until Monday night, when for a reason that remains unclear, he went on a rampage, which has resulted in him being charged with shooting his father to death and brutally attacking her.
“He had threatened me, but that was the first time that he had really hurt me,” she said.
According to court documents, Goodrich Jr. struck his mother with his fists, hit her with a handgun and tried to bind her with duct tape before he shot his father.
“I don’t even know what happened,” Sandra Goodrich said Friday. “The only thing I know is he was hitting me over the head. He must have hit me pretty hard in the head.
“My husband did save my life,” she said. “He came out of his room and he said, ‘Is that you?’ and I said, ‘Yes, help, he’s got a gun,’ and then he [Goodrich Jr.] went for him [Goodrich Sr.] and I ran because I couldn’t fight him anymore and he would have shot me in a minute.”
Goodrich’s best friend, Maggie Kennedy of Palmyra, was with Goodrich for moral support Friday as the victim spoke about her ordeal.
“It’s so sad it just breaks my heart and I am so proud of her for having the strength to fight a grown man off — a man with a gun and a roll of duct tape — ready to do her in, and she got him off of her,” Kennedy said.
“I didn’t get the gun away from him, but I did fight with him with the gun in his hand,” said Goodrich, who is still badly bruised and whose scalp is stapled together at the hairline so that a long gash above her forehead will heal properly.
Four days after the shooting and assault, Goodrich says she has yet to speak with her son.
“I couldn’t go to the arraignment. I haven’t talked to him and I’m not gonna for a while,” she said. “I don’t want to. I mean, he killed my husband. That is not going to be an easy thing to deal with.”
Goodrich said that she and her husband marked 46 years of marriage in August.
Her husband was in declining health, having undergone treatment for cancer, and had not been expected to live beyond February, she said. At the time of his death, he was suffering from congestive heart failure.
But she didn’t foresee her husband dying at the hands of their son.
Perley Goodrich Jr. has long been afflicted with mental health problems, Sandra Goodrich said Friday.
“Bipolar, he’s had it for a long time, since he was fairly young. He had problems for a long time,” she said.
“He was very controlling but that’s part of the illness,” Goodrich said.
“I don’t know how the case is gonna go, but I can’t have him back. I’d have to leave if he came back because I would now be afraid for the rest of my life, no matter what he says,” she said. “I’m still in shock. I know it. I’m glad he didn’t hurt anyone else.”
Asked what Perley Goodrich Jr. was like as a child, Goodrich said, “I’m not gonna say too much about him because he’s got a long road ahead of him. I don’t really want to influence people or that. Someday I might, but right now I just need people to know that we did try to get him help.”
She said she was not sure which Bangor psychiatric hospital her son was released from just before the shooting and assaults took place.
“I don’t really know for sure because all I did was take him over to Sebasticook [Valley Hospital in Pittsfield] and I called them after he left and said he needed help, that he was gonna hurt somebody if he didn’t get help,” she said.
Officials at Sebasticook Valley Hospital confirmed that Perley Goodrich Jr. had been seen there on Sunday afternoon and that he was transferred by ambulance to another health care facility. State and federal privacy laws prevent the hospital from saying where he was transferred, a spokesman said.
Officials at The Acadia Hospital and the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor said on Thursday that they could not provide any information about whether Goodrich had been a patient at any time.
Another thing Sandra Goodrich wanted people to know is that she appreciates the help and support she’s received.
“Just thank you to everyone — to the police, the National Guard, all of the detectives that were involved in the case and my friends, my neighbors — my neighbors let me in in the middle of the night.”
“Everyone has been so, so good to me. The church in Newport where we worship, the Church of Christ. They called me. In fact, they all tried to get into the hospital but they wouldn’t let anybody in. It was kind of like a lockdown situation, and I weren’t really up to talking to anyone anyway.
“People deserve to know that I’m all right and how grateful I am to everyone that’s helped me, even my husband, even though he’s gone now,” she said.
She also appreciated the support she’s had from her employer, Wal-Mart.
Goodrich said her two other children are having a hard time coming to terms with the loss of their father and the arrest of their brother.
“Kenny is very upset. He’s gonna see if he can see his father [at the funeral home]. But I’m not going to because I want to remember him just the way he was,” Goodrich said. She said her daughter, Nancy Watson, has been handling all of the funeral arrangements.
Recalling Monday night, Goodrich said the first thing she wanted to do when she ran out of the house was warn her two children.
“Those were the only places [Perley Goodrich Jr.] had to run — not that he could run there but he could have dominated them like he did her,” said Kennedy. Kennedy and her husband, Terry, met the Goodriches through their church and have been close friends for at least 15 years.
The Kennedys, who were traveling in the southeastern United States when they got the call from Goodrich, immediately drove back to Maine to be with her.
Goodrich, who got out of the hospital on Wednesday, said she is staying with her daughter’s family in Stetson.
“I’m not gonna stay here,” she said.
Goodrich hopes her son will receive the help he needs while in the prison system.
“They haven’t really said anything,” she said. “I know they’ve done the arraignment, but I’m sure there will be treatment there because that’s part of the procedure.”