A Winthrop teenager accused of killing his parents and the family dog last Halloween was struggling with gender identity and felt repressed at home, according to court testimony Wednesday.
Dr. Debra Baeder, Maine’s chief forensic psychiatrist, said she examined Andrew Balcer four times since police charged him with two counts of murder in the deaths of Alice and Antonio Balcer, both 47, at their Winthrop home.
In one of her sessions with him, Balcer said, “‘Maybe I should be someone else. Maybe, I should be a woman,” the doctor testified.
Balcer, 18, who has been held at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland since his parents’ deaths, told her he felt repressed at home.
“‘I couldn’t be as flamboyant as I wanted. I couldn’t dress the way I wanted,’” she testified Balcer told her.
Baeder testified on the first day of a two-day hearing before District Court Judge Eric Walker to determine if Balcer will be tried as an adult or a juvenile. He was 17 when he admitted to police that stabbed his mother, then his father and the family dog at about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 31, 2016.
Andrew Balcer will turn 19 in early December.
The Maine attorney general’s office is asking that he be tried as an adult. Balcer’s attorney, Walter McKee of Augusta, seeks to have him tried as a juvenile. McKee agrees that his client is responsible for his parents’ slayings.
If found guilty of murder as a juvenile, Balcer could be confined to a juvenile facility until he turns 21. He would face between 25 years and life in prison if convicted of murder as an adult.
Baeder also testified that on another night shortly before the killings, Balcer and his father argued after his father made a derogatory remark about a transgender person. The two became so loud that they woke up Balcer’s mother.
“He was concerned his mother [in whom he’d confided] would tell his father about his gender identity issues and concerned about his father’s response,” said Baeder, who works at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.
Balcer was not suffering from psychosis or schizophrenia or any other easily identifiable mental illness other than gender dysphoria, she said. She testified that Balcer, who is receiving counseling at Long Creek, needs long-term help to address his psychological issues.
“I have grave concerns there’s enough time in the juvenile system to address his risk factors for reoffending,” Baeder said.
Wednesday’s hearing began with the playing of a recording of Balcer’s 911 call, in which he admitted to killing his parents but offered no motive.
“I don’t know. I just did it,” Balcer said in the dramatic 911 conversation with Winthrop police dispatcher Dana Massey.
The following audio clip contains disturbing and graphic language and may not be appropriate for all audiences. Credit: WGME
911 CALL – State playing the disturbing call Andrew Balcer made the night he allegedly killed his parents. *Explicit language* pic.twitter.com/vClBzBQGbv
— Dan Lampariello (@DanWGME) October 25, 2017
“Did they provoke you?” Massey asked.
“Were you arguing?” the dispatcher asked.
“No, we haven’t argued in a while,” Balcer replied.
Dispatcher Massey described Balcer as “cooperative and concise.”
Balcer calmly told Massey at about 1:45 a.m. that he had killed his mother, then his father and the dog “because it was barking.”
“I snapped,” Balcer said. “I took my Ka-Bar [knife] and drove it straight into my mother’s back. My father came up because he heard her screams and I stabbed the f—- out of him.”
Balcer’s mother was stabbed nine times and his father 13 times, Dr. Mark Flamenbaum, the chief medical examiner, testified Wednesday.
When Massey asked Balcer if he was sure his parents were dead and if they needed medical attention, Balcer replied, “There’s no helping them.”
Balcer laughed a couple of times during 12-minute recording. It ended when he surrendered to Winthrop officers who had arrived at the house.
Former Maine State Police detective Abbe Chabot testified she found an older Chihuahua dead on a chair with a stab wound through its side.
Antonio Balcer was found face up on the floor between the kitchen and dining room, according to testimony Wednesday. A Ka-Bar-style knife was found stuck in the floor near his body and a handgun was found on the kitchen counter. Alice Balcer was found face down on Andrew Balcer’s bedroom floor.
In a more than two-hour interview with Chabot, Balcer said he woke his mother up to talk. She went into his bedroom and as she was hugging him, he stabbed her repeatedly, he told the detective.
The teenager said he allowed his older brother to leave to go to a neighbor’s for help.
After hearing the interview, the judge found probable cause to charge Balcer with two counts of murder. He will continue to hear testimony Thursday before deciding whether Balcer should be tried as an adult.
Walker said he would issue a written decision at a later date.
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