LEWISTON — A Leeds man charged with the 2023 murder of a Windham man appeared in court for the first time Monday.

Joseph Chute of Leeds makes a court appearance in Lewiston Monday from Androscoggin County Jail, where he is being held without bail on a murder charge. His attorney, Verne Paradie, is sitting next to him. Screenshot from video

Joseph Chute, 30, was arrested Friday and charged in the murder of 34-year-old Alex Jackson, who has been missing since May 12, 2023, the date police say Chute killed Jackson.

Chute appeared in 8th District Court by videoconference from Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn. He was seated next to his attorney, Verne Paradie, who was appointed Monday by Judge Sarah Churchill to represent Chute, who is indigent.

He is charged with intentional or knowing murder, a crime punishable by 25 years to life in prison.

Churchill ordered Chute held without bail pending a hearing at which a judge would hear arguments about bail and probable cause for Chute’s arrest.

Paradie said he would notify the court if and when he was ready to seek that hearing.


Chute didn’t enter a plea because murder is a felony charge, which could only proceed to trial if a grand jury were to hand up an indictment finding probable cause for charging him with the crime, or if Chute were to waive his right to grand jury review.

Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Ackerman filed a motion to impound the affidavit supporting probable cause to arrest Chute.

Judge Churchill granted Ackerman’s motion. Paradie said he hadn’t read the affidavit and would file a motion to lift the sealing of the affidavit from public view should he decide to after reviewing it.

Jackson’s family reported him missing May 12, 2023, saying his absence was “atypical,” Maine Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Shannon Moss wrote in a media statement Saturday.

Investigators from Maine State Police, Windham Police Department, Lewiston Police Department, Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office, and the New Hampshire State Police worked to develop leads over the 10 months following Jackson’s disappearance, Moss wrote.

Jackson’s body hasn’t been recovered, Moss wrote.


Also on Monday, Chute pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of domestic violence stalking and domestic violence terrorizing that allegedly happened March 24 and 25.

Bail was set at $5,000 cash in that case, with conditions that included no possession of dangerous weapons for which Chute can be searched at random. He also is barred from having any alcohol and illegal drugs and must not have any contact with the alleged victim of the domestic violence charges.

Paradie reserved the right to revisit bail on the domestic violence charges should he be successful in securing bail for Chute on the murder charge.

According to reports, Jackson had been seen last near the Turner area.

Alex Jackson

The Portland Press Herald said Jackson’s mother, Patricia Jackson, told that newspaper last spring that Jackson regularly traveled the back roads of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, hauling items for farmers on his flatbed trailer.

Police said they believed he was about to travel to upstate Vermont with his dog, Hazel, who was found three days later in North Yarmouth, but there was no sign of Jackson or his truck, according to the Press Herald.

Jackson had been living with his mother in Windham for several years but had bought property at the time he went missing and was planning to build his own home, according to the Press Herald.

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