AUGUSTA — A Turner man found not criminally responsible in the 2021 slayings of his landlords, a Turner couple, has petitioned a judge to modify his treatment program at the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.

Patrick Maher Androscoggin County Jail photo

A judge found Patrick Maher, 26, not criminally responsible by reason of insanity nearly a year ago after he entered a plea in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn, waiving his right to a trial.

Maher was committed by Justice Thomas McKeon to the Department of Health and Human Services once a bed at the Augusta psychiatric facility was available.

Investigators said Maher entered the Knight Farm Road home of Troy Varney, 52, and Dulsie Varney, 48, early in the morning of Feb. 12, 2021 and fatally stabbed the couple.

He had been indicted by a grand jury in April 2021 on two counts of intentional or knowing of depraved indifference murder.

Maher filed last year for a court-appointed attorney to represent him because he is indigent.


Through his attorney, he filed a petition seeking a hearing “to determine the readiness of Mr. Maher for modification of his treatment program and to determine whether that program is likely to cause injury to himself or to others due to mental illness or mental defect,” according to court records.

The petition doesn’t specify how Maher is seeking to have his treatment program modified.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday in Kennebec County Superior Court at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

The presiding judge may rule on the petition Friday or take the matter under advisement.

A police vehicle blocks Knight Farm Road in Turner on Feb. 12, 2021, as an investigation was underway in the deaths of Troy Varney, 52, and his wife, Dulsie, 48, in their home. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file

At the February 2022 hearing at the Auburn courthouse, the victims’ family members expressed disappointment in the seeming lack of justice for Troy and Dulsie Varney and conveyed to the judge their fears that Maher might one day return to Turner after his release from DHHS custody to carry out attacks on them.

The Varneys’ daughter, Shelby Varney, who was asleep in the home and found her slain parents, asked the judge to sentence Maher “to Riverview for life.”


She said she feared that his release might trigger the return of “all my emotions and feelings I’ve worked so hard to resolve.”

A psychologist ordered by the court to evaluate Maher’s state of mind at the time of the crimes said that when Maher went off his antipsychotic medication, he experienced visual and auditory hallucinations.

Psychologist Luke Douglass testified that he concluded Maher suffers from schizophrenia, a serious mental illness that causes him to lack the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions.

Douglass said Maher believed he was acting as a CIA operative because he was suffering from delusions. He thought he was being fed information through online forums and books left by CIA agents at his apartment at 419 Turner Center Road, less than half a mile from the Varney home.

He believed there were cameras watching him from a smoke detector in his apartment, Douglass said.

The day before the stabbings, Maher was experiencing “intense paranoia,” Douglass said.

After returning from lunch with his father, whom he had judged not to be human, Maher “began to scour the internet for any messages left for him by the CIA and he came upon an article about a farmer who left the window open, and he wasn’t able to reconstruct why he perceived that to be momentous, but in the moment he said he realized that the CIA was reaching out to him and that he should kill his landlords,” believing they were imposters or shapeshifters, Douglass said.

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