Revenge in Rumford

Two men are dead. Two are accused of murder.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Eleanor Touchette, a friend and neighbor of murder victim Roger Day, sits in her Rumford living room talking fondly about Day. "We will miss him," she said.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

A motor home parked behind the home of murder victim Roger Day on Pine Street in Rumford was where murder victim Victor Sheldon lived, according to neighbors.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Mexico resident Andy Sjostron talks about knowing some of the people involved in the double homicide in Rumford. He was a friend of victim Victor Sheldon.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Richard Seigle talks about murder victim Roger Day, who lived directly across the street from him in Rumford.

Victor Reed Sheldon, 22, and Roger Leroy Day Jr., 48, were shot to death at 244 Pine St. in Rumford on the night of Aug. 3.

Eric Hamel, 19, and Richard Moulton, 20, both of Mexico, confessed to planning and carrying out the killings.

They told police the slayings were payback for an assault against Moulton's girlfriend, who is Sheldon's estranged wife.

A simple case of revenge?

As a neighbor who lives across the street from the crime scene said recently: "It's hard to believe that two boys would walk into a house and kill two people because one of them assaulted a girl. That doesn't make sense to me." An ex-police officer, he said: "The motive eludes me."

The case begs many questions:

• If the slayings were retribution — targeting only Sheldon — why was Day killed?

• If the motive was Moulton seeking revenge against Sheldon, why didn't Moulton pull the trigger instead of Hamel, as Hamel has confessed to having done?

• If the two made the effort to plan the killings in advance, why did Moulton stay behind as a witness to the shootings and then work with police to provide an accurate description of Hamel as the fleeing suspect, since Hamel could identify Moulton as his partner in the crime?

There are no clear answers.

The Sun Journal talked to people who knew the deceased and dug through court records to examine the relationship between the deceased and the accused, finding that the paths of these men crossed well before Aug. 3. The lives of the deceased were dotted with accusations of abuse and convictions of petty crimes. Court documents revealed some unexpected connections, unusual twists and puzzling details, such as hidden cameras, a dangerous blow gun and an assault with butter.

A domestic assault charge against Victor Sheldon was dismissed the day he died.

Day had a history of misdemeanor crimes and a series of protection-from-abuse orders filed against him over the years.

Neither suspect has a criminal history as an adult, and neither had any driving convictions. Their former teachers at Mountain Valley High School describe the two as quiet and were stunned that they would be involved in a violent crime.

Victor Sheldon 

Sheldon, who was disabled and collected SSI, was not employed. He had been living until April in a run-down camper parked in the dooryard outside the house where he was shot, before he moved into the apartment with Day.

He was convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault against his wife, Gayla Sheldon, in January 2008, but the case was filed after a year of good behavior. Court documents describe the domestic violence assault incident as Mr. Sheldon "threw butter" at Mrs. Sheldon at the Spruce Street home they once shared with their two sons in Rumford. One of the conditions of his bail was that he was to have no contact with his wife.

Two months later, on Valentine's Day, Sheldon was charged with violating conditions of release. Found trying to hide under a bathroom sink in his wife's apartment, he explained in a motion to amend bail conditions that he was delivering presents to their home and didn't realize he would violate conditions of bail. He said he "got confused." He wrote that he wanted to go home because "my wife needs me and my son … I want to be home. I miss them and love them."

In March, that case was put on file, meaning it would be dismissed in a year if Sheldon stayed out of trouble. He stayed out of trouble, and the case was dismissed.

In the meantime, Gayla Sheldon moved out of their home and filed for divorce in Franklin County, writing in a statement that he "physically, verbally and emotionally" abused her. Acting as her own attorney, Gayla Sheldon wrote that she had custody of their two young sons, and they had moved to Jay.

Their divorce was never finalized because Gayla Sheldon did not serve her husband with the paperwork, and a Farmington District Court judge dismissed the action last spring. Sometime between the divorce filing and last week's murders, Gayla Sheldon began dating alleged shooter Richard Moulton.

Last July, Sheldon was charged with domestic assault in connection with an altercation with his wife at Moulton's Main Street apartment in Mexico, but that charge was dismissed the day Sheldon was killed. According to district court records, District Attorney Norman Croteau declined to prosecute the case the day before Sheldon was scheduled to be arraigned on the assault charge.

Eight years ago, Sheldon's mother, Penny, filed a protection order against Day, the man her son would end up staying with and was playing video games with the night they were shot.

Penny Sheldon filed a complaint for protection from harassment for herself and her five children, including Victor, against Day when she lived at 244½ Pine St., very near the house where Day and Sheldon died.

Sheldon wrote in her complaint that Day was threatening her and was dangerous to her children. He "watches my children and me, throwing rocks at the house I am at. Follows me. Calls me names in front of children. Spys (sic) on my house or any house where I am at. Sends messages to the school to my daughter threw (sic) other children. Threatens people that I talk to. Don't trust him around my children and they don't trust him."

In her narrative, Sheldon wrote that Day didn't like the fact that she had a boyfriend. At the end of the narrative she wrote that Day "has a blow gun that has dangerous darts and (does) know how to use it."

That same year, there were several orders for protection issued against Day by various people in the Rumford area, including those in the Pine Street neighborhood, with accusations that he peeped in windows and scared people.

Roger Day Jr.

Day was disabled and in poor health, said to be blind in one eye and suffering from severe heart disease. Neighbors described him as a friendly and somewhat naive man who had many young friends visiting his home at 244 Pine St., the scene of the murders.

Eleanor Touchette, who lives across Pine Street, two doors down, broke into tears talking about him.

For more than a decade, Day helped her do chores around the house, she said. He did odd jobs, including stacking wood, mowing the lawn and raking leaves.

He refused to take money for his work, Touchette said.

She repaid him with meals. "I know he didn't have much money," she said.

"He was just an all-around respectable person," she said. "Didn't smoke, didn't drink, didn't swear." She thinks Day was an "innocent bystander" the night of the shootings.

Disabled by his heart, doctors said he should have surgery, Touchette said. Doctors told Day his next heart attack could be his last.

Day lived for a while with Anthony Richards, his cousin, in a home behind 244 Pine St. When Richards was indicted in federal court on child pornography charges and extradited to Montana last April, Day moved into 244 Pine St., inviting Sheldon to move in, too.

Touchette said she believes Day was oblivious to his cousin's alleged wrongdoing. "I never did get the sense that Roger was involved with Anthony's stuff," she said.

Richard Seigle, who lives directly across from 244 Pine St., said Day struck him as "very naive to the ways of the world."

Richards spent a lot of time on his computer or taking pictures of children from his porch. But Day "didn't know what was going on," Seigle said. "He had no idea."

Day was a gentle person, Seigle said. "He loved people. He'd do anything for anybody on the street."

Day once showed neighbors a pair of sunglasses equipped with a hidden camera. He said they belonged to his cousin. He told neighbors his cousin also had a pen with a tiny camera.

According to court records, Day was convicted of felony theft in 1980 but served no time. He was also convicted of several misdemeanor crimes in Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties, including criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and unauthorized use of property between 1981 and 1995. All of the jail sentences were suspended with varying fines and probation. He had several driving convictions, including a 2001 conviction for operating after suspension.

According to Jay Police Department records, Day was charged with gross sexual assault in Jay in 1998 in connection with a camping trip in Chesterville involving 11- and 14-year-old girls. In a police report, witnesses allege that Day and another man had stripped naked and had sexual contact with minors, after providing them with alcohol. After providing details to police, the girls refused to testify and the charges against the men were dismissed.

The crime

According to police affidavits, Moulton was at the house at 244 Pine St. visiting Day at 9 p.m. on Aug. 3. 

Sheldon was also at the house, dividing his time between that home and the home of his girlfriend, Tessa Elliot, in Rumford.

Moulton was in the bathroom at Day's house, he told police. The bathroom is adjacent to the living room where Day and Sheldon were playing video games.

Moulton heard three gunshots outside the bathroom door.

He left the bathroom seconds later to find Day and Sheldon lying unconscious in the living room. He saw what he thought was blood around Sheldon's head. Moulton left the house through the rear entrance (the kitchen door) and went out into the driveway, where he met Christopher Overdorf.

Overdorf had been walking on Pine Street, heading to the home of Brian Spaulding at 242 Pine St., which is next to 244 Pine St. As he approached 244 Pine St., at around 9:30 p.m., Overdorf heard three gunshots coming from inside 244 Pine St. As Overdorf approached the driveway, he saw a white male, wearing dark clothing, with shoulder-length hair, run out the back door of 244 Pine St. and stumble into the driveway. That man touched a green Dodge Intrepid four-door sedan with license plate 680 PV, which was parked in the driveway, before running off.

Overdorf and Moulton went back into the home at 244 Pine St. Overdorf saw two males in the living room, one lying on a mattress on the floor and the other sitting on a couch next to the mattress. Overdorf said he believed both of them had been shot as he saw blood around the head of the one who was sitting on the couch. Moulton, using Day's cell phone, dialed 911 to report the shootings.

On Aug. 6, three days later, Hamel told Detective Lucas Hare during an interview at the Rumford police station that he went to 244 Pine St. and shot Day and Sheldon with a handgun. He fled the home on foot and hid the gun in a section of woods on Oak Street. He led detectives to the spot where he buried the gun. Police recovered the weapon.

State Police Detective John Hainey later interviewed Moulton at the Rumford station. Moulton said he helped Eric Hamel of Mexico with planning and carrying out the shooting deaths of Day and Sheldon. Moulton said he and Hamel planned in advance to shoot both men and that the shootings were retribution for an assault by Sheldon on his estranged wife, Gayla.

Hamel and Day have made their initial court appearance and are being held without bail until the trial on the double murder charges.

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Comments

 's picture

First....thank you to Sun

First....thank you to Sun Journal for doing this follow up article...great job! Not that any murder makes any sense, period.....but the motive for this one really doesn't make sense. If Moulton was the one with the issue against Sheldon, then why didn't he kill Sheldon? And for both killers being on the honor roll.....they sure didn't use any brains when they planned this murder. Moulton hung out in the bathroom....Hamel runs out into the public where he can be seen and identified....Moulton then describes him to a T to police. And I do find it hard to believe that Sheldon's estranged wife aka Moultons girlfriend, had no idea that this murder was being planned, just my thoughts on this. The gal obviously has poor choices in men all the way around. My sympathy goes out to the families left to deal with this tragedy.

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