Suspect in machete threat skips court, may have fled to Caribbean — (Bangor Daily News)

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Bangor Daily News

By Diana Graettinger

Thursday, June 26, 2008

MACHIAS, Maine – A 36-year-old man who was charged with terrorizing his wife with a machete last year may have skipped the country and gone back to his home in Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia is one of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea.

Kirk Henry, most recently of Machias, was charged with two counts of terrorizing, criminal threatening and assault in August 2007. He was scheduled to appear in Washington County Superior Court on Monday but never showed up.

Henry’s attorney, Carol Lewis of Lubec, told Judge E. Allen Hunter that she had not had contact with her client.

Hunter issued a warrant for Henry’s arrest. If Henry returns to Washington County he will be arrested.

First Assistant District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh said Wednesday the county still did not know where Henry was.

“We have a suspicion that he has returned to Saint Lucia, where he is from,” he said.

“He was held in jail from the date of the offense in August 2007 until he posted bail in May 2008,” Cavanaugh said.

A Whiting man posted the $5,000 cash bail, Cavanaugh said, which will be forfeited because of his failure to appear.

According to court documents, on Aug. 25, 2007, Henry was at the Indian Lake Cottage in Whiting that he shared with the victim until around 8 p.m., when he left to go to a bar in Eastport.

After learning that Henry was to meet another woman in Eastport, the victim called the bar and spoke with Henry, an affidavit on file with the Washington County Superior Court states.

Henry returned to the couple’s cottage around 2 a.m. Sunday and an argument ensued. “[Henry] then became physically abusive, throwing [the victim] about the kitchen, her body breaking glasses and dishes as she was attacked,” the affidavit says. “During the attack, [the victim] sustained a cut to her finger. She sustained injuries to her eye, lip, nose, ribs, hip and thigh.”

When the victim wiped some of the blood from her finger on Henry, he became “enraged,” the affidavit says. “He grabbed the telephone and destroyed it and threw another object through the front window of the cottage,” court documents say.

The victim tried to hide in the bathroom.

Henry grabbed a machete and began to hack at the bathroom door, the affidavit says.

The victim tried to run out of the bathroom and out the front door, but Henry blocked her escape. She then ran to the bedroom. Henry pushed his way into the bedroom. “Holding [the victim] by the throat with one hand, [Henry] screamed at her [that] he was going to kill her as he held the machete above her head with the other hand,” the affidavit states. The victim begged for her life, “dropping to her knees and telling [Henry] she was sorry for ever questioning him,” the affidavit says.

Sometime later, the assault ended and Henry fell asleep on the couch, the machete beside him.

Afraid, the defendant remained at the cottage and then drove Henry to a boat-building class that morning. “Back at the cottage, she tried to clean some of the blood and glass left from the attack earlier that morning,” the affidavit states. “She then left the cottage for her house in Machias.”

Although the victim went to the hospital that night, she did not call police. She did contact domestic violence support services the next day, but still did not report the incident to police.

Three days later, the victim reported the incident to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

Henry then contacted the victim’s daughter and told her the situation was putting him “between a rock and a hard place” and he might do “something crazy, like burn the house down,” the affidavit says.

The Machias Police Department investigated the incident.

When police questioned Henry, he admitted to police that he had threatened to burn the house down. He was arrested.

On Sept. 25, 2007, Henry’s attorney filed a motion with the court requesting a forensic evaluation. In her request, Lewis noted that Henry had been under a lot of stress and had recently suffered a loss, which may have affected his reasoning. The motion was granted.

On March 24 of this year, Lewis filed a request to enter a plea of not criminally responsible by reason of insanity, the court document says.

Lewis said she had received a report from the medical doctor who had examined Henry. “It is my opinion, with reasonable medical certainty, that Mr. Henry suffers from a bipolar disorder that was exacerbated by the antidepressant Effexor, leading to a manic state, that included psychotic features,” the doctor said in the court documents. “This psychotic state interfered with him being able to have substantial capacity to know the wrongfulness of his behavior.”

In April, Lewis filed a motion for a Stage Three Forensic Evaluation. Two weeks later, a letter was filed with the court from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Adult Mental Health Services notifying Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta that Henry could be admitted to its facility for 60 days. “At the end of 60 days or sooner, the State Forensic Service shall forward a report to the court … relative to the defendant’s competence and criminal responsibility, with respect to the court’s order,” the letter said.

Although a judge signed the order for commitment, Henry never showed up.

Henry remains on the lam. “He could be gone forever or caught tomorrow,” Cavanaugh said. “He sits in the drawer until we find him.”

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