March 1980, my 24-year-old, second oldest son, Mike, was living in an apartment with his girl friend, Linda Gray, and another man in Brewer, Maine, just across the river from where we lived in Bangor. One evening, the Maine DEA entered their apartment with a search warrant and found 2 pounds of marijuana, 350 amphetamine tablets and 150 LSD tablets along with assorted paraphernalia. Street value was estimated at $2,000. Mike, the other tenant, along with another man were all arrested. This was Mike's only drug charge.
Only Mike and one of the men were charged for trafficking. The other man and Linda were not charged. Mike went to court to be sentenced on December 3, 1980. He was sentenced to 5 years plus 360 days in Maine State Prison. His attorney planned to appeal but he needed to call his father for security bond. He was allowed to use the phone in the clerk's office to call his father. Linda went him. He tried to reach his father but he was out of his office. He told Linda to bring her vehicle to a side door on the left side of the courthouse, which she did. A sheriff's affidavit states that Linda was standing next to him. But for some unknown reason Linda was never questioned.
It was only three weeks before Christmas of 1980 when Mike escaped from an armed guard at the courthouse. My youngest son was only 9 years old. My fear for Mike's life dominated my thoughts. I was prescribed medication for sleep. My brother's wife invited us to their home for Christmas. It was nearly 200 miles to my brother's home in northern Maine. We decided to take our young son and go where he would be with their children and get away from the horrible situation for a little while.
On Christmas Eve calls were coming from family members to wish us all a Merry Christmas. While talking with my sister in Massachusetts she said "Mike is here." Everyone was looking at me as I began to cry. I said " Let me talk to him.” Derald grabbed the phone from me, he was upset with Mike because of the security bonds he had on him and what he was putting us through. His first words were “How long do you think you can keep this up?” Derald told him that his sentence would be lighter if he would turn himself in. Mike told his father that he would call and discuss it with him when we returned home.
The day Mike called Derald was at work and never got to talk to him. Mike said he was no longer at my sisters and wouldn’t say where he was. Talking rapidly he asked me to contact his older brother, Derry, and ask him to contact his attorney, Marshal Stern, and find out from him what he would be looking at for time before he turned himself in. That was the end of our conversation. He just hung up the phone. I called Derry and told him what Mike had asked him to do. Derry called after he had spoken with Stern to say that he had an appointment for Monday morning. I said that I wanted to go with him, which turned out to be a huge mistake.
When we arrived that morning Stern wasn’t in his office. His secretary said he was across the street at Penobscot County District Attorney David Cox’s office and that Stern had said for us to come there. As we were telling a receptionist that we were there to see Marshal Stern, Mike’s attorney, appeared with another man (I assumed he was another attorney from Stern’s law firm) and hurriedly escorted us out into the hall where we stood to talk.
Stern was not pleasant. I had never met the man before and was startled by his rude attitude toward me. He wouldn’t discuss Mike giving himself up to the authorities. He just wanted to know where Mike was. In other words he wanted us to turn Mike in. We said we didn't know where Mike was but we were not believed.
We left with no indication from Mr. Stern that he would do anything to help Mike give himself up to the authorities. I dreaded telling Mike that his attorney was not interested in helping him turn himself and that he only wanted to know where they could find him.
Why, when Mike was willing to give turn himself in, couldn’t something have been worked out to allow him to do that? Why did Mike’s family have to turn him in to the authorities when he was willing to do it himself?
Sometime after Mike’s murder, Linda told us where we could find Mike's belongings. My daughter brought them to me. I was going through a large envelope with many of his papers when I found a letter from a Pastor A. Ervin Burke—dated January 12, 1981. He had been attending church in the Massachusetts area.