Suspect in Mass. double homicide caught trying to cross border at Houlton

Posted May 02, 2012, at 12:36 p.m.
Last modified May 02, 2012, at 4:09 p.m.
Joseph Wright
Joseph Wright

HOULTON, Maine — A suspect in a double homicide in Massachusetts was apprehended Tuesday night after he tried to cross the border into Canada at Woodstock, New Brunswick, and will be heading back to Massachusetts after a brief court hearing in Presque Isle on Wednesday.

Joseph Wright, 23, of Lynn, Mass., told authorities that he cut the throats of his mother and grandmother, whose bodies were found Tuesday morning in Saugus, Mass., according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Massachusetts.

Wright agreed during a brief hearing Wednesday in Maine to return to Massachusetts to face murder charges in the deaths of his mother, 54-year-old Donna Breau, and his grandmother, 83-year-old Melba Trahant.

Wright lived with his mother, one floor above Trahant.

According to the affidavit, he told authorities he left the knife at Trahant’s apartment. Investigators said Wright was driving Trahant’s car when arrested. Investigators said they found blood at Wright’s Lynn address, on the car and on Wright’s undershorts.

Wright was taken into custody Tuesday night as he attempted to cross the U.S.-Canada border between Houlton and Woodstock, New Brunswick.

According to officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Wright drove up to the Canadian port of entry in Woodstock, N.B., just after 6 p.m. Canadian Border Services officers directed him to secondary screening area for additional questioning and inspection. At that point, CBP officials said that Wright fled the scene and was pursued by Canadian authorities.

U.S. Border Patrol personnel and equipment were deployed to the international boundary near Richmond Corner, New Brunswick. Additional resources also were arranged to assist with securing the area should Wright attempt to re-enter the United States. A CBP Houlton Air Branch helicopter also was launched for aerial support. Wright was subsequently caught about 5 or 6 miles from the border in Richmond Corner by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The RCMP turned Wright over to U.S. Border Patrol who then turned him over to Maine State Police. He was taken to the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton and was arraigned by video conference in Presque Isle District Court at 1 p.m. Wednesday on fugitive from justice charges.

Aroostook County Deputy District Attorney Carrie Linthicum was the prosecutor on the case. She said Wednesday afternoon that Wright appeared before Judge David Griffiths and was represented from the jail by Jeff Pickering, a Houlton attorney. He told Griffiths that he understood his rights but did not make any other statements. Linthicum said that bail was not allowed because of the nature of the charges against him. The judge read the charge but no other information related to the murder case was submitted to the court, according to Linthicum.

Wright waived extradition and will be taken by Massachusetts State Police detectives back to Massachusetts to face murder charges.

He was still in the Houlton jail at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

CORRECTION:

An early version of this story contained inaccurate provided information. The suspect's first name is Joseph, not Jeffrey.

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