NEWPORT, Maine — An intense manhunt that’s been ongoing since Monday ended early this morning at the Newport Big Stop, where Perley Goodrich Jr. was arrested while drinking a coffee and a water.
Goodrich Jr., 45, has been sought by police since Monday in connection with the fatal shooting of his 76-year-old father and severe beating of his 64-year-old mother.
A waitress at the 24-hour convenience store and restaurant said she sensed something amiss about Goodrich Jr., who seated himself alone at a corner booth at about 12:30 a.m. today. The waitress, whose manager would not allow to be named, said red flags went up with the way Goodrich Jr. ordered coffee.
“He asked, ‘Are there refills?’” said the waitress to the Bangor Daily News. “Then he said ‘Do you want the money right now?’ I told him no, take your time … and he said ‘I’m just going to drink coffee for a half-hour.’”
Goodrich Jr. was the only customer. Besides the peculiar exchange, the waitress thought she recognized him. She told a cook and a cashier, then took out Thursday’s Bangor Daily News, in which she had seen Goodrich Jr.’s picture that day.
“I don’t know what did it,” she said. “That was the only time I’d ever seen his picture.”
She had to be sure, because calling police on an innocent trucker was her “worst fear.” She decided to try for a better look. She chatted with Goodrich Jr., who was wearing a green sweatshirt, jeans, boots and a camouflaged baseball cap, which he removed when he sat down.
“I never made eye contact with him even though I was talking to him,” she said. “He said he had a truck warming up out back. That’s when I really worried that I was going to be wrong.”
But she and the other employees, a cook, a cashier and a manager, decided not to take the chance. The cashier called 911 at 12:39 a.m., according to Newport police Cpl. Allen Graves. Patrol Officer Stephen Morrell was the first on the scene and Graves arrived two minutes later. The Newport Big Stop is situated just off Interstate 95 in a busy area full of businesses.
Behind the restaurant is a large parking lot where numerous big rigs were parked early Thursday morning.
The officers observed Goodrich Jr. through a window.
“I was probably 90 percent sure it was him,” said Graves. “When I got close enough I made a positive identification.”
The waitress said the officers came in together and told her to stay out of the way. They approached Goodrich from different angles with their guns drawn.
“He was cooperative,” said Graves. “He complied with all our commands.” Goodrich Jr. was turned over to Maine State Police 1:07 a.m. and taken to state police offices in Bangor for questioning, according to a press release.
Morrell, who joined the Newport police full time earlier this month, said the conduct of the employees in the store and restaurant was “spot on.”
Graves, who has been a police officer for 25 years, said the smooth arrest was the result of “good police work.”
“We’re just glad that he’s in custody and no longer a potential threat to the community,” said Graves.
Pam McKay of Glenburn, manager at the Newport Big Stop, said she was proud of the way her employees conducted themselves and opted to conceal their identities because of their exposure to the public.
“We’re just happy the person was caught,” said McKay.
Newport Town Manager James Ricker said news of the arrest brought great relief.
“I’m thankful that no other citizens are at risk,” he said.
Although authorities said they’d had no confirmed sightings of Goodrich Jr., they searched a wooded area in northern Newport several times on the theory that the suspect was hiding there and evading capture.
The waitress said Goodrich Jr.’s clothes and hair looked clean and that there was no mud on his boots.
“He totally didn’t look like he’d been in the woods for three days,” she said.
Newport Lt. Randy Wing said there was no doubt that the woods are where Goodrich has been, though.
“The officers did find (at the restaurant) the camouflaged jacket that matched the description of the sighting we had Thursday,” said Wing, who added that Goodrich Jr. could have cleaned up “almost anywhere,” including an abandoned house or even his family’s 146 Rutland Road home, the scene of the crime.
As Graves and Morrell led a handcuffed Goodrich Jr. out of the restaurant, he asked them to take some money out of his back pocket to pay the waitress for the coffee, which they didn’t allow.
“For someone who seemed so violent in what he did, he was totally complacent and cooperative,” said the waitress. “I was surprised at that.”
Penobscot County Deputy Noel Santiago arrived shortly after the Newport officers to help secure the scene and state police troopers took Goodrich Jr. to Bangor. Graves said the collaboration was the latest example of the how multiple agencies from the warden service to the Dexter Police Department have coordinated in this week’s investigation.
“Just about every agency in the area has assisted us on this,” said Graves.
Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said this morning that Goodrich has been charged with murder and aggravated assault. He was taken to Penobscot County Jail at about 4:30 a.m. McCausland said the Maine Warden Service had been preparing for another search that was to take place early today, but that was called off because of the arrest.