June 22, 2018
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Belfast man gets 45 years for attack on elderly woman

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

BELFAST, Maine— The day after Stanley Ward abducted an elderly Belfast woman, robbed her, slashed her throat three times and left her to die in an isolated camper, he showed — and told — a police detective exactly what he had done.

On Wednesday, victim Patricia Moss, wearing a delicate scarf to cover the scars on her neck, watched Ward’s descriptions of the events of Nov. 24, 2009, on a chilling police video shown in Waldo County Superior Court shortly before Justice Jeffrey Hjelm sentenced Ward to serve 45 years in prison for his crimes.

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“I picked her up and asked her if she was bleedin’. She said yes,” Ward said in the video to Detective Michael McFadden of the Belfast Police Department. “Then I hit her on top of her head a couple times … I stabbed her twice, hit her on the head a couple of times with the back end of the knife. Then I cut her throat.”

McFadden asked Ward how Moss felt when she was tied up in the back of her own vehicle during the drive to the camper site: “Did she seem scared at that point?”

“A little bit,” Ward said. “She kept praying in the back seat.”

The soft sobbing of many in the courtroom, including Ward’s family and Moss’s friends, punctuated his unemotional voice on tape.

Moss, who has not been named previously by the Bangor Daily News because she was a victim, spoke before the court during the hearing and agreed to be identified publicly. She saved herself that night by escaping the camper and crawling down a long dirt road to Route 137, where a few drivers stopped for what they initially thought was a bloody deer.

“Through unbelievable strength and resilience and courage — and some luck — Mrs. Moss was able to somehow, miraculously, crawl down the road [to safety],” Hjelm said during the hearing.

The white-haired woman, now 73, was surrounded by friends during the court procedures. Moss addressed the room — and Ward — in a clear, confident voice.

“It’s been over seven months, and I feel like it should all be over — and it isn’t,” she said. “I hear the soft voice of Stanley Ward saying, ‘Are you bleeding yet? Are you dead yet? Yeah, you’re dead now.’ Those words just stay with me.”

Ward seemed to stare straight ahead as Moss spoke and didn’t meet her eyes as she described the extent of her injuries, including becoming deaf in one ear, lost teeth, nerve damage in her shoulder, stab and slash wounds to the neck and constant pain.

“My injuries are permanent. My disability is permanent,” she said. “I’ve given up a lot of my lifestyle that I had looked forward to in retirement.”

But Moss also expressed sympathy to Ward’s family.

“I am very sympathetic,” she said. “The boy that they raised has simply become a very, very bad, dangerous man.”

Fern Ward, his mother, told the court that the family is sorry.

“I know it is your wish that Stanley suffer,” she said, adding that her son has been suffering at the hands of some of the other inmates at Two Bridges Regional Jail who recently burned him with hot water. “You see a bad man, and I see a boy … I hope Stanley gets the help that he needs and not just hot water.”

Ward also addressed the court.

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done. If I could take it back, I would,” Ward said. “I’m sorry for what I done to that poor woman.”

Ward also indicated that he was sorry for his family and for his own future as he emphasized his concern that he has lost the chance to hunt with a rifle because he’s a felon.

The thing that bothers him the most is that he won’t be able to have children with his girlfriend, he said.

Ward, who had pleaded guilty in April to all charges, was sentenced by Hjelm to serve 50 years in prison for his crimes with five years suspended — 30 years for the charge of attempted murder, 20 years for the charge of kidnapping and 20 years for the charge of robbery with all but 15 years suspended.

Ward will serve the attempted murder and kidnapping sentences concurrently, Hjelm said.

He also was ordered to pay about $10,000 in restitution to the victim, mostly to repay medical bills. He will spend four years on probation after he is released.

When he is released, he will be 68 years old — four years younger than his victim was at the time of the attack.

“His demeanor with the investigator was chillingly cold,” Hjelm said, emphasizing Ward’s “obvious” lack of remorse as he explained the sentence. “He showed not one trace of emotion as he was describing what he’d done. He showed no sign of any humanity.”

Ward’s court-appointed attorney, Jeremy Pratt, said after the hearing that he and his client were planning to appeal Hjelm’s decision.

According to Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker, Ward had decided two days before the attack to carry out a robbery, and he settled on two elderly widows living in the area as good targets. When one left for Thanksgiving, he focused his attention on Moss, Walker said.

Ward arrived at Moss’ house that afternoon covertly armed with a knife and duct tape. He told Moss that his father had suffered a massive stroke and was in the hospital and that he himself needed money as he had been fired from two jobs.

In a previous court appearance, Walker, the prosecutor, had said Moss, who hired Ward’s father to mow her lawn, was concerned about the family and let him into her house to ask how she could help.

Ward then threw the woman to the floor, telling her that if she screamed or made any noise he would kill her “right this minute,” Walker said.

He tied up Moss with black electrical tape, demanded money and had her write him a $300 personal check.

Ward put the bound and wounded Moss in the back of her own vehicle and drove to a camp near Dutton Pond off Route 137 in Knox.

After attacking Moss and leaving her to die in the camper, Ward returned to Belfast, where he switched back to his own vehicle and deposited the $300 check in Key Bank. Then he bought a six-pack of Twisted Tea malt beverages, gassed up his vehicle at Thompson’s Variety in Waldo and drove to check up on the victim.

He didn’t find her.

Moss, who had lost consciousness in the camper, had begun crawling on her hands and knees toward Route 137. Walker showed an aerial photograph and emphasized the distance she had to cover on that cold November night. At one point she heard a vehicle coming and hid in a ditch filled with icy water, successfully evading Ward.

“She crawled for her life,” Walker said. “Somehow, someway, Mrs. Moss managed to make it to the road, where drivers did not recognize her as a human being.”

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