A man who killed two nuns may soon be on the streets on a limited basis.

WATERVILLE (AP) – Nuns who watched a man kill two of their colleagues met Monday with state officials to discuss their fears about his expected release from an Augusta mental hospital for short, supervised outings.

Mark Bechard, 44, was given permission Thursday to leave the Augusta Mental Health Institute for up to four hours at a time on trips within a 10-mile radius of the hospital.

On Jan. 27, 1996, Bechard killed Sister Superior Edna Mary Cardozo, 68, and Sister Marie Julien Fortin, 67, and was charged with beating Sisters Patricia Ann Keane and Mary Anna DiGiacomo.

The slayings and beatings occurred in the convent and adjoining chapel of the order of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Waterville.

Bechard was convicted of the killings on Oct. 16, 1996, and was committed to AMHI after he was found mentally ill and not criminally responsible for his actions.

On Friday, the 11 nuns living at the convent learned that Bechard had been granted permission for supervised release from a caller who saw the story on the television news.

The nuns at the convent, three of whom witnessed the attacks, expressed their fears Monday at a private meeting with state officials and Waterville police.

According to the state law that governs victim notification, the state was not obligated to notify the nuns before the court hearing where Justice Donald Marden approved Bechard’s release plan.

The law states that victims must submit a written request for notification of releases, but the law is vague as to whether victims are to be notified in the event of releases for short trips, as in Bechard’s case.

Waterville Police Chief John Morris and others said they discussed how to make victims aware that a case is on the court docket for review.



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