Man accused of kidnapping prison librarian explains mindset

Posted Aug. 19, 2010, at 12:57 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:33 a.m.

ROCKLAND — Michael Chasse testified that he never intended to hold two people hostage on June 30, 2008, when he kept a fellow inmate and the Maine State Prison librarian against their will in the prison library office for seven hours.

Chasse is on trial in Knox County Superior Court on several charges of assault, kidnapping and terrorizing. He finished his six-hour testimony before the jury Thursday after Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm imposed a time limit on him. Chasse was representing himself in the proceedings.

Chasse testified Thursday morning that by the day of the incident, he had made plans to kill police officers and inmates, hold prison personnel hostage, kill himself and more, all in what he has called a search for a righteous protest. Chasse said he has been ill treated by the Maine State Prison system and has lost his identity in his years there. He needed something to live and die for, he said Thursday.

Chasse made reference to how holding the two people in the office for seven hours was “uneffective.” He said he has learned lessons from the ordeal.

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“If you want to change somebody, you can’t change them by holding them hostage. You can’t change a prison by killing a cop,” he said.

In the afternoon, Chasse testified that he wanted to die on that day. He said he had been planning to kill a correctional officer at Maine State Prison so he could be transferred to a state that has the death penalty. He then planned to kill another person out of state so that he would die, he said.

On the day of the library incident, Chasse said, he had started to pack his belongings in preparation for being sent out of state. He said he stumbled on an anonymous letter from three women, which he now believes was laced with LSD. To better remember and emotionally connect to the letter and its six lipstick kisses, Chasse said, he ate the letter.

Then he started feeling strange. He heard angels. The room looked distorted. His feelings were amplified.

When Chasse went to the library that day, he walked toward a back door that prisoners are forbidden to go near. Jacqueline Weddle, Maine State Prison librarian, yelled at him to stop. Enraged at Weddle for yelling at him and for numerous arguments he had with her in the past, Chasse said he gave up on his cop-killing plan and chose Weddle as a target.

He said he thought maybe if he held her or hurt her, police would kill him at the Maine prison. Chasse said he was uneasy about his plan because he thought other prisoners might think him a coward for hurting a 5-foot-tall woman. Then inmate Ryan Currier, whom Chasse said he hated, walked into Weddle’s office. Chasse en-tered Weddle’s office, shut and locked the door and held Weddle and Currier against their will for seven hours.

In that time, Chasse said, he stabbed Weddle four times and cut Currier’s cheeks with a razor blade.

After seven hours, Chasse demanded a credit card for access to pornography on Weddle’s computer. When police gave it to him, he released Weddle. Minutes later, police broke into the office and took Chasse into custody.

Both the prosecution and the defense rested Thursday. Hjelm said he expects the closing arguments and jury instructions to be completed Friday, then the jury will deliberate. The trial began Monday, Aug. 9.

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