ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Hancock man pleaded not guilty to a terrorizing charge Friday morning before breaking down into tears in Hancock County Superior Court.
Michael A. Carter, 38, was arrested Thursday afternoon after allegedly making threatening statements on Facebook, where he allegedly announced a violent outburst reminiscent of the killing spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Police have declined to release the complete contents of the threat, but on Friday gave the following quotes, allegedly attributable to Carter:
“We will all go out in a blaze of fire, think that school shooting was bad it was nothing to what will happen in Ellsworth,” Carter allegedly wrote on his own Facebook profile.
Among other statements, Carter also allegedly wrote on the Ellsworth Police Department’s Facebook page that “people will parish [sic].”
The posts were reported to police by someone familiar with Carter, who felt threatened, said Ellsworth Police detective Dotty Small on Friday. The post on the police department’s page has been deleted, and Carter’s privacy settings made it impossible to tell whether a post on his profile was still there.
While schools were closed Thursday, police placed a local day care on lockdown and guarded it until Carter was arrested.
In court, Justice Kevin Cuddy accepted Carter’s not guilty plea and set bail at $10,000 surety or $1,000 cash. A probation hold is also in place on Carter, who was released from jail on probation Dec. 21 after serving a 30-day sentence for assaulting his wife on Nov. 21 in Penobscot.
After bail was set, Carter asked the judge if he could make a statement. The judge told Carter it may be unwise to speak before his trial, and advised him to confer with his attorney, Ronald McMullen.
After speaking with the lawyer for a moment, Carter broke into tears and asked to be treated at a mental health facility, rather than return to jail.
McMullen asked Cuddy to call in a crisis response team to meet with Carter, and the judge ordered Lt. Frank Shepard to call in a counselor to evaluate Carter.
A tentative trial date has been scheduled for Carter on March 15. Terrorizing is a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days in prison and a $2,000 fine.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.