Belfast man arrested on attempted murder charge

Posted Nov. 25, 2009, at 1:43 p.m.
Stanley L. Ward  Image courtesy of the Waldo County Jail.
Waldo County Jail
Stanley L. Ward Image courtesy of the Waldo County Jail.

BELFAST, Maine — Bail was set at $500,000 for a local man who allegedly abducted an elderly city woman Tuesday, robbed her, slit her throat and left her for dead at a remote pond in Knox.

Stanley Ward, 22, of Patterson Hill, made his initial appearance in Belfast District Court on Wednesday on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and robbery. Judge Joseph Field set Ward’s bail at $500,000 cash or $1 million in property during a video hearing conducted from Rockland District Court.

The 72-year-old victim managed to crawl several hundred yards from the pond to a paved road where a passer-by noticed her and called for an ambulance.

The woman initially was treated at Waldo County General Hospital and then transferred by LifeFlight to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. She is expected to survive her injuries, Waldo County Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker said.

“We have heard that she is doing well in Bangor and will hopefully make a full recovery,” he said.

Walker described the attack as vicious and premeditated. He said Ward went to the victim’s house armed with a knife and carrying duct tape.

“Alcohol or drugs do not appear to be a factor in this,” Walker said. “This appears to be premeditated. He had been planning it for two days.”

According to an affidavit submitted by Belfast Detective Michael McFadden, Ward knew the victim and went to her Bell Street home at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday looking for money.

McFadden said he interviewed the woman while she was being tended to by Dr. John Gage at the emergency room in Belfast on Tuesday night. He noted that the woman’s face was covered with blood and that she had two knife gashes to the neck.

McFadden said the victim told him that Ward “seemed upset” when she let him in the house and told her that his father, who mowed her lawn, had a stroke recently and that he had been fired from two jobs.

At some point in the discussion Ward reportedly became angry, dragged the woman into her bathroom, pushed her to the floor, held the knife to her throat and demanded money.

When the woman gave Ward all her money, he allegedly bound her hands with tape, dragged her outside and forced her into her car. Ward got in the car and drove off, only to stop and return to the house where he ordered the woman to write a check for $300 because she failed to give him enough cash.

Ward then reportedly loaded the woman back into the car and drove 10 miles from Belfast to a camper trailer along a dirt lane on Dutton Pond off Route 137 in Knox.

Once inside the camper, Ward threw the woman to the floor and cut her throat, she said. Dr. Gage told McFadden that she told him she heard Ward say, “Yeah, you’re dead,” after cutting her throat.

McFadden said the woman told him that while Ward was cutting her he kept talking about how badly people had “treated him lately.” Ward then cut the tape from the victim’s wrists and left. Ward took the victim’s car back to Bell Street, parked it and drove off in his pickup truck.

The woman told McFadden she passed out after having her throat slashed and woke up some time later. However, when she tried to stand, she lost consciousness again, she said. She finally awoke, then pulled herself from the trailer and began crawling down the dirt camp road.

At one point she heard a vehicle coming and rolled off the road into a ditch filled with water. She noticed that the vehicle was a truck that resembled Ward’s. She hid in the ditch and watched the truck turn into the driveway and saw a man get out and step inside the camper. A short time later the man got back in his truck and drove off.

The woman continued crawling down the road until she reached Route 137 and was discovered. Police were notified at 8:50 p.m. She left behind a trail of blood, McFadden said.

“She is one very tough lady,” McFadden said Wednesday outside the court.

Based on the victim’s account, police obtained search and arrest warrants before surrounding Ward’s home and placing him under arrest at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Walker said Ward had cooperated with Belfast, Waldo County and Maine State Police detectives after his arrest. Ward detailed what he had done and showed detectives where he disposed of the knife in the pond.

Each of the charges are Class A felonies and carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and fines of $20,000, Walker said.

Ward was represented by Searsport attorney Peter Mason during his initial appearance. Mason told the judge that Ward advised him he would seek a court-appointed attorney to represent him in the future.

Should he make bail, Judge Field ordered Ward to notify the district attorney 48 hours in advance in order to validate his real estate surety. If bailed, he must also have no contact with the victim, not go near her home, not possess any weapons or consume alcohol or drugs, report to police daily and observe a 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew. In the meantime, Ward is being held at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

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