Inmate represents self in prison hostage trial

Posted Aug. 09, 2010, at 11:36 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:34 a.m.
(Michael L. Chasse)  indicted
(Michael L. Chasse) indicted
(Michael Chasse) (NEWS Photo by Sharon Mack)
BDN
(Michael Chasse) (NEWS Photo by Sharon Mack)

ROCKLAND, Maine — During the first day of his trial Monday, a Maine State Prison inmate accused of holding a prison librarian and another inmate hostage for seven hours in June 2008 said he may have unknowingly ingested LSD, which caused him to act the way he did.

Michael Chasse, who is charged with 11 counts of kidnapping, assault, terrorizing and trafficking in prison contraband, is representing himself in Knox County Superior Court. The trial is expected to last more than a week.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau told jurors Monday that on June 30, 2008, Chasse used a homemade knife to take prison librarian Jacqueline Weddle and inmate Ryan Currier hostage. He cut both hostages and threatened them with further harm as he held them in a small office in the prison program building.

Rushlau said Chasse told prison guards not to come in, warning them, “Before you can get through the door, I can stab them 50 times.”

After a while, Chasse started making demands for pornography, information and other items. Police continued to negotiate, and Chasse released the prison librarian after about seven hours. Three minutes after Weddle’s release, while Chasse’s back was to the windows in the room, state police smashed through and took him at gunpoint, according to Rushlau.

Chasse did not rebut those statements Monday.

Chasse told the jury he would use the involuntary intoxication defense. He stated that he received an anonymous letter, which had three women’s handwriting on it and six lipstick kisses. Chasse said this letter “possibly had LSD on it.”

“I ate the letter because I thought I would lose it, and I wanted to remember it,” Chasse told the jury.

This, he said, caused his intoxicated state, leading him to the actions he took that day.

In his hourlong opening statement, Chasse said that he was angry at Weddle and had intended to hold her for 10 hours as a “righteous protest.” Chasse said he intended the protest to end with his death. He said he has several mental abnormalities, which include the “want to be murdered.” He said these abnormalities were an ef-fect of being in jail for 13 years.

Two of the four kidnapping charges against Chasse allege that he used Weddle and fellow inmate Ryan Currier for gain. Defending himself against those allegations, Chasse said although he asked for things — including a picture of a porn star that he said would calm him down — it was not his intent to use the people to get rewards.

“My conscious objective was to hold a righteous protest and possibly be murdered,” he said Monday.

Everything else, including the items he asked for, were “simply things I did to relax,” he said.

The trial will continue at 9:30 a.m. today. Weddle is expected to take the stand this morning.

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