May 24, 2018
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Baby slaying suspect coming back to Maine

By Nok-Noi Ricker and Judy Harrison, Special to the BDN

BANGOR, Maine — The Massachusetts man caught by the FBI on Monday for his alleged involvement in the death of a 15-month-old Bangor boy last week will soon return to Maine, according to officials from the Maine Attorney General’s Office and the Bangor Police Department.

Edgard Anziani, 27, was arrested by FBI agents in Bladensburg, Md., about seven miles northeast of Washington, D.C., after fleeing Maine last week. Bangor police charged him with murder last Thursday in connection with the Feb. 23 death of Damien Christopher Lynn at an apartment on Bald Mountain Drive.

Anziani has waived extradition, Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said Tuesday afternoon.

He “made an initial court appearance today in Maryland,” and will be returning to Bangor, Deputy Chief Peter Arno, of the Bangor Police Department, said Tuesday.

Bangor police Detectives Brent Beaulieu and Tim Cotton, who are working the murder case, will head down to Maryland early next week, Sgt. Paul Edwards, the department’s spokesman, said Tuesday.

“They are going to leave here Monday, do all the paperwork on Tuesday” to have Anziani released to their custody, “and drive him back Wednesday,” he said “That’s the plan.”

Damien Lynn’s funeral was Tuesday.

In an e-mail to the Bangor Daily News on Monday, his mother, Cheryl Metzger, 22, wrote, “i get to see my baby tmrw for the last time.” Later she posted on Facebook, “your free Dbug. fly with the angels n watch over everyone n other kids.”

The boy’s father, who lives in Georgia with Metzger’s other child, who is 2, arrived in town for the private memorial service, she wrote.

Family friend Sasha Stecher said Tuesday afternoon that speaking at the funeral “was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” adding that she can’t help but break down crying when she thinks about how Damien’s life was taken.

Bangor police enlisted the aid of the FBI late last week after finding out that Anziani, who is a citizen of the Dominican Republic, had fled the state. The federal agency issued a fugitive-from-justice warrant Friday for Anziani, whose last known address was Lawrence, Mass., and on Saturday added a $10,000 reward.

The Prince George’s County Police Department and the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office, both in Maryland, assisted the FBI’s Baltimore and Washington field offices with the arrest.

Metzger was notified of the arrest at about the same time as the FBI and Bangor police issued news releases about it Monday and within a few minutes, she had posted a message on her Facebook page to her deceased son.

“Baby D they caught the guy, u can now rest in peace now n u have ur justice!” she wrote. “Mommy loves u.”

Anziani had been staying with Metzger and her son at her apartment off and on for the past four months. Metzger was in a local hospital when the boy died early Feb. 23.

Because he was unfamiliar with the Bangor area, Anziani called Metzger’s mother, who called 911 at 6:58 a.m. that day, according to a police affidavit.

When paramedics arrived at Metzger’s apartment at 55 Bald Mountain Drive, Anziani met the ambulance and crew in the driveway and handed them the toddler, who was “blue and not breathing,” according to court documents. Damien Lynn was pronounced dead at Eastern Maine Medical Center an hour later.

Anziani told police the child fell down the interior apartment stairs. The autopsy found that the boy’s injuries, which included broken bones, head injuries and a human bite mark on his right arm, “could not be explained in a simple fall down six or seven steps.”

Stokes refused to talk specifically about Anziani’s case. It is the practice of the Attorney General’s Office not to comment on pending cases until they have been concluded.

“In many of these cases in which a child dies,” he said, “the initial charge is depraved indifference murder. As the case progresses, we sometimes find it appropriate to accept a plea to manslaughter.”

The difference between a sentence for manslaughter and murder is substantial. A person convicted of murder faces between 25 years and life in prison. A defendant convicted of manslaughter faces a maximum sentence of 30 years.

The decision about whether to charge a person with manslaughter or murder in the death of a child is difficult, Stokes said, because in some cases there are no external injuries.

“When we charge murder, one of the things we base our decision on is the totality of the injuries and if they have been inflicted on multiple surfaces,” he said.

In a shaken-baby case, for example, the defendant often is charged with manslaughter, he said, if the assault appears to be a single, momentary incident. If there appears to be a pattern of abuse, a murder charge is more likely to be sought.

Two men have been convicted of murdering children in Maine in the past 15 years, according to Stokes.

Robert Ardolino, 48, of Harrington is serving a 35-year sentence at the Maine State Prison in Warren for murdering his 9-year-old son, Matthew Ardolino, in 1993. The boy died of blunt trauma to the abdomen after his father repeatedly struck him with a baseball bat.

Jeffrey Cookson, 46, of Guilford is serving two consecutive life sentences for the Dec. 3, 1999, execution-style murders of 20-year-old Mindy Gould and 21-month-old Treven Cunningham, the boy she was baby-sitting at a home in Dexter.

The most recent sentencing in a shaken-baby case was held in December in Waldo County Superior Court. Robert E. Harford Jr., 25, of Rockland was sentenced to 25 years in prison with all but 16 years suspended after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of his 9-week-old daughter, Ava Harford. Harford originally was indicted on a murder charge.

A candlelight vigil in memory of Damien Lynn is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, at Cascade Park in Bangor.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 28 people, the boy’s mother included, had confirmed on the Facebook page titled “Candlelit Vigil In Memory of Damien Lynn,” that they would attend.

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