Joseph Chute sits Wednesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn, listening to his attorney question the state police officer who provided details of a confession and other evidence implicating Chute in the 2023 murder of Alex Jackson. Jackson’s body had been missing but was recently found in a 50-gallon drum in shallow water in Stark, N.H. Jackson was shot in the back of the head, police say. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — A Leeds man shot a Windham man in the head, collected his remains in a barrel and dumped it in New Hampshire, according to police testimony Wednesday.

Maine State Police Detective Justin Huntley took the witness stand in Androscoggin County Superior Court where he answered questions about the case.

Huntley wrote a report in support of probable cause to arrest Joseph Chute, 31, for the murder of 34-year-old Alex Jackson, whose remains were recovered April 19 in Stark, New Hampshire, nearly a year after he went missing.

Huntley said witnesses told police Chute had confessed to them that he had shot Jackson in the head at his farm, put his body in a 55-gallon drum from where he’d kept it on a compost pile.

He and his then-girlfriend put the barrel in an SUV and drove around Maine, with her at the wheel, looking for a place to hide it before making their way to a sand pit in New Hampshire, near the Chute family’s camp, and submerging the barrel in a shallow body of water, the report said.

Screenshots of a Snapchat conversation that Joseph Chute had with a friend is brought into evidence Wednesday at Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn. The Snapchat appears to show Chute confessing to the murder of Alex Jackson last year and attempting to make plans to flee. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Police said they tracked the movements of Chute and the girlfriend by reviewing their cellphone data for May 14, 2023, and that it showed the couple had traveled to the area in New Hampshire where Jackson’s remains were eventually recovered.


Witnesses differed in their accounts as to whether Chute said he’d shot Jackson in Chute’s shop or outside the building.

Police recovered no physical evidence from either location, Huntley said.

One witness told police Chute said he’d owed Jackson money for a large piece of earth moving equipment.

That witness told police he’d lent Chute his SUV to transport the barrel to New Hampshire. After it was returned to the witness, he ended up scrapping it for parts.

That same witness said Chute had threatened him to get rid of Jackson’s truck and trailer that the witness had noticed at the back of Chute’s property. The witness said he cut Jackson’s belongings into pieces and disposed of them.

Chute’s former girlfriend, who has been granted immunity from prosecution, described for police where she’d driven and said she had suggested Jackson’s final resting place.


She said she’d never seen the body and hadn’t put the barrel into the SUV nor taken it out.

She said Chute had encouraged her to marry him so that she wouldn’t have to testify against him because she would be his spouse.

Chute said things to her, such as, “we’re in this together,” Huntley testified.

Chute had told police the last time he’d seen Jackson had been on May 12, 2023, and that Jackson had been worried, was pacing and had planned to drive to Vermont.

Defense attorney Verne Paradie pointed out inconsistencies among statements made to police, including text messages between Chute and Jackson that conflict with what witnesses told police Chute had conveyed to them about the movements of the two men on May 12, 2023.

Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Ackerman showed Huntley prints of Shapchat texts Chute had exchanged with one of the witnesses, in which Chute said that police knew everything and that he was “running out of options.”


In another text, he said, “going away for life isn’t an option.”

Justice Jennifer Archer found there was probable cause to support the murder charge and ordered Chute held without bail pending trial.

Chute pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Jackson’s friends and family appeared in the court’s gallery for the hearing.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.