AUBURN — Laurie Callahan sat in the second row of the courtroom benches Wednesday watching the back of her estranged husband who was clad in a bright orange jail suit as the judge set his cash bail at $500,000.

Prosecutors believe Michael Callahan burned down his family’s home, tried to burn his estranged wife’s mobile home, rammed her minivan as she drove and tried to run down a sheriff’s deputy — all on Friday.

But the change in her husband began months earlier, Laurie Callahan said.

In December, four days before Christmas, the Callahan family was at their Verrill Road home in Minot. Michael Callahan and his 16-year-old daughter began to argue, Laurie Callahan said Wednesday during an interview on the steps of the Androscoggin County courthouse.

Michael Callahan was being investigated by the state, accused of abusing his 12-year-old son. Callahan became “agitated” while talking to his daughter that night.

“He wouldn’t stop nagging her,” Laurie Callahan said.

Then his daughter called 911.

“I don’t know,” Laurie Callahan said. “Something in him definitely changed that night. He just said: ‘If they come, you’re gonna bury me. I’m not comin’ out of here.’ He just kept repeating that as he loaded an AK-47,” she said.

He had never spoken that way before, she said.

She gathered up the kids and fled their house.

Michael Callahan held police at bay that night for more than six hours. He fired nearly 100 rounds from inside the Minot house. He fired a high-powered rifle and a machine gun in the direction of police, who had surrounded his house, according to a report from the Maine Attorney General’s Office. Police later discovered an arsenal at the Minot home that included 22 handguns, 26 rifles and six shotguns.

A hunter and target shooter, her husband had been collecting firearms for years, Laurie Callahan said, but she never felt threatened until that night.

Her former neighbor who lived across from their Minot house text-messaged Laurie Callahan on Friday, asking whether her estranged husband was supposed to be on the property.

Conditions of his release on $10,000 cash bail barred him from being there.

Laurie Callahan told her neighbor to call police, then she called the District Attorney’s Office in Auburn. She was told to call the local sheriff’s office, so she did.

Ten minutes later she learned the Minot house was on fire.

She left work at the Elm Street School in Mechanic Falls in her minivan, then noticed her husband was behind her in his pickup truck. He rammed her vehicle in a church parking lot, spinning the minivan. She got out of the vehicle and ran and hid. Shortly afterward, she learned her mobile home in Mechanic Falls was burning.

“I guess I’m just lucky to be here because I really believe he was trying to hurt me” she said Wednesday.

She called Poland Regional High School and Minot Consolidated School and asked the principals to lock down the schools, fearing Michael Callahan might come for their children. She asked a friend to pick them up and told the school to release them only to her friend.

“That was my next fear, that he’d already gotten both my houses,” she said. “He had hit me with the car and he was going for the kids next.”

Laurie Callahan said she didn’t know why her estranged husband had gone on an apparent rampage on Friday.

“Nothing unusual that I know of had happened this past week,” she said.

In Androscoggin County Superior Court on Wednesday, a judge revoked Michael Callahan’s $10,000 cash bail stemming from events relating to the December standoff. Justice MaryGay Kennedy told Callahan’s father, who was in the courtroom, to collect the money he had put up for his son. She set a new cash bail at $500,000 on three counts of arson and other charges stemming from Friday’s events. She said only Callahan could post that bail, no third party.

She added conditions to his bail that barred all contact with his estranged wife and two children and prohibited use or possession of any weapons, including firearms, subject to random search.

Callahan had undergone a mental evaluation after his earlier charges, but another was ordered Wednesday. He was hospitalized at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston over the weekend. Investigators said he had possibly taken an overdose of medication on Friday.

Laurie Callahan said she and her children are feeling the effects of Friday’s events.

“We’re a little stressed, still,” she said. “No one sleeps very well, still. We’re always looking over our backs. Maybe we’ll sleep better now.”

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