STETSON, Maine — Marc Karun had lived in Stetson for six years before police arrested him Wednesday in connection with the murder and sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl in Norwalk, Connecticut, nearly 33 years ago.
During his time in the small town of 1,200 outside Bangor, Karun developed a reputation for odd behavior, he had a vacant stare that made some uneasy and he regularly attended meetings of the town’s select board, residents and officials said Thursday, the day news broke of his arrest in the 1986 sexual assault and strangling death of Kathleen Flynn.
“I’m not surprised,” Selectman Millard Butler said of Karun’s arrest. “He always acted kind of weird anyway.”
Karun moved to Coboro Road in Stetson in 2013, according to Catherine Fisher, the town registrar, although county records show that the 53-year-old’s parents bought the property in 2002 and placed it in a trust in their son’s name. The house is set back from the road, down a long and winding driveway that cuts through a heavily wooded area.
His sudden appearance in Stetson puzzled residents in the small community, who quickly took notice of Karun because of his strange behavior, they said Thursday. Karun’s next door neighbor on Coboro Road said he did not know him personally, but that Karun would stand on the side of the road and salute people as they drove by.
“He made all of us uncomfortable,” said Fisher, who interacted with Karun occasionally when he came in to register his car every year. Karun also took out papers last year to run for the town selectboard, although he never returned them and was not listed on the ballot, she said.
“He would come in, and it’s almost like he looks right through you,” she said. “He didn’t know when to leave.”
The rural Penobscot County town would have been a sharp contrast to Norwalk, the suburban Connecticut city of 86,000 about an hour outside of New York City, where he was raised and continued to live until at least 2011. He is also listed as having Connecticut residences in Manchester, Rocky Hill and Shelton before moving to Maine, the Connecticut Post reported.
On a shelf behind Fisher’s computer in the Stetson town office is a black binder that contains the names of registered sex offenders, and Fisher, like others around town, said she knew that Karun’s name was inside it. Karun is a lifetime registrant on Maine’s sex offender registry for a sexual assault conviction in Connecticut in 1989 — nearly three years after Kathleen Flynn’s murder. Court records show Karun had convictions for sexually assaulting or kidnapping four different female victims both before and after Kathleen Flynn’s murder.
Karun’s sex offender status was mostly the subject of gossip, residents said. But on several occasions, residents took bolder actions to make their discomfort known.
Last summer, someone painted the word “pedophile” in red on the asphalt street outside Karun’s driveway, Butler said.
The selectman saw Karun regularly because Karun attended almost every meeting of the select board, which meets twice a month. Karun often “made comments in a smart-alecky way,” Butler said.
When Karun took out papers to run for selectman, Butler said he remembered a resident suggesting that the town pass an ordinance barring a convicted felon from running for town office — something the town could not legally do.
Butler also recalled a selectmen’s meeting a few weeks ago when a woman at the meeting told Butler that Karun was staring at her and making her uncomfortable.
“I looked at him — he was sitting in there with sunglasses in the front row — and he did appear to be staring at her,” Butler said.
The woman asked Butler to stay behind at the meeting to ensure she left safely. He sat in his car in the parking lot until he saw Karun leave.
Wednesday’s select board meeting, which took place hours after Karun’s arrest, was the first meeting in recent memory he missed.