Bangor man found not criminally responsible for June 2011 murder; says he was ‘possessed’

Posted May 12, 2014, at 3:39 p.m.
William Hall during his arraignment at the Penobscot Judicial Center on Oct. 31, 2011.
Gabor Degre | BDN
William Hall during his arraignment at the Penobscot Judicial Center on Oct. 31, 2011.
Melvin F. Abreu
Twitter photo
Melvin F. Abreu

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Bangor man who in 2011 threw another man off a balcony to his death was found not criminally responsible of murder on Monday and was returned to Riverview Psychiatric Center.

William Hall, 32, told Judge Ann M. Murray that he “suffered a bout of possession” the night of June 9, 2011, when he killed Melvin F. Abreu, 28, in Hall’s apartment at 94-96 Fourth St. in Bangor.

“I prefer not to say I threw him out the window,” he said. “It wasn’t me. I was trying to fight it off when it happened — whatever you call it, God or Satan or something. I didn’t intentionally kill Abreu.”

In October 2011, Hall pleaded not guilty to intentional or knowing murder or depraved indifference murder in connection with the slaying. He also pleaded not guilty to escaping June 28, 2011, from the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center, where he had been taken by police for an evaluation.

Hall’s leaving the psychiatric hospital without permission three weeks later prompted an intense manhunt that involved personnel from the Maine State Police, the Bangor Police Department and the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department.

Hall was captured in Brewer the next morning after reportedly swimming across the Penobscot River.

In May 2013, Hall, 32, was found not competent to stand trial for murder and was committed by Murray to Riverview until he could be restored to competency.

On Monday, Assistant Attorney General Leann Zainea said that among other witnesses one would testify that he saw Hall strangle Abreu and throw him out the window after Abreu approached Hall’s girlfriend and the two then argued about religion.

Zainea said police would testify that Hall said at the scene, “I choked the [expletive] out of him and threw him out the window.”

Dr. Debra Baeder, chief forensic psychologist at the State Forensic Service, said Hall was able to understand what was likely to happen Monday “and able to participate meaningfully in the process.”

When questioned by Murray, Hall said, “It was about possession.”

He referred to “a bunch of lies” in the police report, and repeated that Abreu “fell out the window. I went down there to pray with him … I didn’t know what the hell was going on around me.”

He told Murray that he “wasn’t born,” but was “made on American soil by the military … a bunch of different countries were involved — Deutchland or this land or that land. My consciousness isn’t fully developed.”

Bangor attorney Stephen Smith, defending Hall, said the case against Hall is “defensible,” but said the plea was in Hall’s best interest.

Murray seemed to struggle with Hall’s statements that Abreu “fell” out of the window and statements that he “wasn’t born,” but instead “made … by the military,” but after a nearly two-hour hearing, accepted Hall’s plea and ordered him returned to Riverview.

 

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