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'Not acceptable': Berwick police chief calls out Maine AG's office following homicides

Berwick Police Department (WGME)
Berwick Police Department (WGME)
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BERWICK (WGME) – There have been two homicides in the past four months in the town of Berwick.

"It was definitely scary, because I walk here all the time," neighbor Jhen-da Prince said.

Prince lives near the Berwick home where Mark Forest was shot to death in January.

State police made an arrest, but according to court documents, a potential second suspect was being investigated, causing concern.

"I mean, I understand there’s probably an investigation going on and what not. Not a lot of information can be released, but it would be nice to be informed, yeah," Prince said.

Four months later, there was a second homicide not far away.

Police found two men with gunshot wounds.

Edward Badeau died at the hospital.

The 25-year-old homeowner was wounded.

"We didn't know what was going on," neighbor Jen Webster said.

Webster and her family live near the second homicide.

"I don't know what's really going on,” Webster said. “And I keep my doors locked now. I'm right next door. This could've been us if it was a random robbery or just a break-in."

Two days later, state police said they hadn't made an arrest, but there wasn't a threat to the public.

Under state law, Berwick police are not allowed to say anything about the two homicides, not even to reassure the public. That information can only come from the State Attorney General’s Office, but Berwick Police Chief Timothy Towne says he should have the ability to make a public statement on whether or not there is an ongoing threat to the community.

In a message to Berwick residents, Towne says:

"If the Attorney General's Office decides to retain complete control of the public statements, they should release a statement regarding public safety in a timely manner."

The attorney general's office responded, saying:

"We have always been more than willing to support local law enforcement and towns to cope with the aftermath of a homicide."

"Am I safe or am I going to be the next one that gets killed walking down the road?" Berwick resident Samantha-Jo Walker said.

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The AG's office says state police have notified Berwick police that they can tell the community they're safe.

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