RUMFORD — A Peru man has been charged in connection with the deaths of a couple inside their apartment in South Paris on New Year’s Day.

Maine State Police on Thursday night arrested Mark Penley, 49, on two counts of murder in the deaths of Heather Bickford and Dana Hill, both 31.

Penley is the ex-boyfriend of Bickford.

He was arrested at the Rumford Police Department at about 7:30 p.m., police said, and taken to the Oxford County Jail.

Penley is expected to make his first court appearance Friday at the Oxford Courthouse in South Paris.

Police found the couple’s bodies in Hill’s downtown apartment Tuesday night after Penley made a 911 call to police reporting the deaths.

Before Bickford moved in with Hill, court records detail a turbulent relationship between Bickford and Penley.

The couple, who had been together for 10 years, broke up in May 2018, according to court documents. They had filed for protection from abuse orders against each other and were engaged in battles over custody of their daughter.

In 2004, Penley was charged with stabbing another woman during a domestic dispute on Waldo Street in Rumford. In that attack, against his former wife, Penley was charged with violating a protective order, felony aggravated assault, felony terrorizing with a dangerous weapon, felony burglary and obstructing the report of a crime by not allowing the victim to call police.

He was ultimately sentenced to a year in jail, with all but 14 days suspended.

The Maine State Police Evidence Recovery Team’s mobile crime unit is parked outside the apartment Wednesday where a man and a woman were found dead in Paris. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.