Justin Butterfield of Poland appears Tuesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court where he was found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity in the 2022 Thanksgiving killing of his brother. Christopher Williams/Sun Journal

AUBURN — A Poland man admitted Tuesday to the 2022 murder of his brother, but the judge found him not criminally responsible by reason of insanity after prosecutors and the defendant agreed that the evidence would support that finding.

Justin Butterfield of Poland appears in Androscoggin County Superior Court by video conference from Maine State Prison in August 2023 to plead not guilty by reason of insanity on a murder charge involving the 2022 Thanksgiving slaying of his brother. Screenshot from video

Justin Butterfield, 35, appeared in Androscoggin County Superior Court, wearing a medical mask and escorted by county deputies.

Sarah Miller, Ph.D., director of the State Forensic Service, testified Tuesday that, after conducting mental examinations, she determined Butterfield was competent to plead guilty to the charge of intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder. She added, however, that he had been suffering the symptoms of a delusional disorder and schizophrenia on Thanksgiving Day when he mutilated his brother’s body, believing it to be a “Terminator,” intending to do harm.

Butterfield is to be committed into the custody of the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services to be placed in an appropriate institution for the care and treatment of a person with mental illness.

He apologized to his family, whose members also spoke Tuesday in the courtroom.

Butterfield said his brother, 38-year-old Gabriel Damour, had been his best friend and that his murder “shouldn’t have happened.”


Assistant Attorney General Lisa Bogue explained to Justice Harold Stewart II the evidence she would have presented had the case gone to trial.

She said a neighbor of Butterfield had spoken with him on Nov. 24, 2022, near Butterfield’s mobile home.

Butterfield had told Wesley Burgess that he had “just beat up the Terminator and that the Terminator had looked like his brother, Gabriel,” Bogue said. Butterfield said “that Gabriel was safe and in another galaxy.”

Butterfield told Burgess that he’d been fighting with the Terminator for 24 hours and had severed several of its body parts.

Burgess went to Butterfield’s home where he saw human body parts on the front porch, Bogue said.

Inside the home, Burgess saw a deceased body on the couch with items protruding from the body cavity.


Burgess called 911, Bogue said.

Butterfield had proclaimed he had been the “first person to kill the Terminator,” Bogue said.

Authorities responded, arrested Butterfield and took him to the Androscoggin County Jail, where he was interviewed by investigators.

His home was searched, where investigators located Damour’s body, which was identified.

The cause of his death was determined to be the result of sharp force and blunt force injuries; the manner of death was ruled homicide.

“There were contusions of his head, face and neck,” Bogue said, as well as “incisions, (burns), puncture marks, fracture of the skull and fractures of other parts of his body.”


Miller, of the State Forensic Service, testified that Butterfield had been briefly hospitalized at least three times in the eight months leading up to Damour’s slaying.

She said that, at the time of the event, Butterfield had been experiencing symptoms of his mental illness.

“The two primary symptoms are delusions and hallucinations,” she said. “So, again, delusions are these false beliefs that are really fixed and remain despite evidence to the contrary. And hallucinations are false perceptions based primarily on hearing people who aren’t really there.”

One of those fixed beliefs was that Damour “was there to create the end of the world, essentially, and that Mr. Butterfield was the one who could stop him. And this would resolve the threat. This would save the world,” Miller said.

“He regularly was hearing voices confirming this delusional belief,” she said.

Those heightened symptoms impaired Butterfield’s ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions, she said.


Butterfield’s brother, Wayne, told the judge Tuesday that he thinks he could have done something to prevent the homicide.

“I knew what was wrong,” he said.

He told his brother that he loved him and that Damour loved him.

“What’s done is done and there’s no changing that,” he said.

Yaicha Provencher, Butterfield’s former girlfriend, said she and Butterfield’s children “are thankful that he’s finally getting the help he deserves and deserved, prior.”

She called the slaying a “preventable tragedy that has changed our entire family forever.”


Provencher said Butterfield is “an intelligent, caring human being and this outcome will allow him to become a successful and healthy individual once more.”

“It should be known today,” she said, “that getting treatment too late happens too often.”

After the hearing, she and former state Sen. John Nutting told reporters that an “underutilized” 20-year-old Maine law that could have put Butterfield on a strict medication monitoring schedule to help manage his illness might well have prevented Butterfield’s psychotic episode and saved his brother’s life.

Wanda Jordan, mother of Butterfield and Damour, said, “I love my son very much and I’m glad he’s getting help.”

Justice Stewart said Butterfield’s case is “tragically symbolic of the ongoing need for mental health treatment” that often comes too late and is too little to avert a crisis.

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