BIDDEFORD — A New Hampshire man on Friday pleaded guilty to killing a man in Berwick last year after an argument over some missing clothes.

Daniel Lafrenier Courtesy of York County Jail

Daniel Lafrenier, 32, appeared before in a judge in York County Superior Court in Biddeford to plead guilty to manslaughter and illegally possessing a firearm. He acknowledged that he shot 37-year-old Mark Forest last January hours after Forest and his wife had argued with Lafrenier’s mother at a house where they were staying on Katabel Lane.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the murder charge against Lafrenier in exchange for his pleading guilty to the lesser charge, but that deal does not include an agreement about jail time. Lafrenier faces up to 30 years in prison for manslaughter and five years on the gun charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 1.

“I hope when we come back on Aug. 1, he does get a maximum sentence,” Kim Gates, Forest’s sister, said after the hearing. “He took a life.”

Lafrenier, who wore an orange jail sweatshirt and dark framed glasses, spoke only to answer questions from Judge James Martemucci.

After the plea hearing, his father, William Lafrenier, said he was feeling emotional about watching his son in court. He was surrounded in the courtroom by other family members, including one who called out “I love you” as Daniel Lafrenier was led out of the room.

Advertisement

“I’m glad he pled guilty because it’s a terrible incident that happened,” William Lafrenier said. “I want him to do the right thing.”

THE SHOOTING

Lisa Bogue, an assistant attorney general, said Berwick police were called to the house on Katabel Lane on the morning of Jan. 12, 2023, by a 911 caller who reported that there was a person with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. When officers arrived, they found Forest on a couch, severely injured with a gunshot wound to the head.

Forest was rushed to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire, where he was pronounced dead.

During the investigation, police learned that Lafrenier had gone to the house that morning after his mother, Luann Lafrenier, called him and said she had been arguing with Forest and his wife about clothing that the couple believed she had taken, Bogue said. Luann Lafrenier, who has since died, told her son that Forest threatened her, prosecutors said.

According to an affidavit filed by Maine State Police Detective Michael Chavez, when Daniel Lafrenier arrived at the house with another man and began to argue with Forest and others, he pointed a gun at Forest’s head. The affidavit said Forest either tried to push the gun away or grab it.

Advertisement

After the shooting, Daniel Lafrenier apologized to his mother, telling her that the gun had “gone off,” Chavez wrote. Luann Lafrenier later told police that she heard a bang and then heard another witness yell, “There’s blood everywhere!”

Lafrenier left before police arrived.

He was arrested the following day after his cousin called York police to report he was trying to get into her house. The cousin was aware that Lafrenier was a suspect in a shooting, as were the officers who arrived in response to her call, Bogue said. After taking him into custody, officers found a gun in his backpack that had DNA from both Forest and Lafrenier on it, prosecutors said.

‘THE MOST LOVABLE PERSON’

Several of Forest’s family members, including his sister and one of his daughters, sat in the front row Friday. They wiped away tears and hugged as Lafrenier told the judge he was pleading guilty.

Gates said her brother was “awesome” – the kind of father who was playful and rushed home from work to be with his six kids.

Advertisement

“They’re going to be fatherless for the rest of their lives,” she said. “He took care of his kids, he tried to give them everything they wanted in life.”

Forest was “the most lovable person that you’d ever meet,” his sister said. He always showed people how much he loved them and people felt they could talk to him about anything, she said.

His loved ones have struggled since his death, Gates said. The daughter who attended the hearing on Friday has been “torn apart” by losing her dad, whom she was especially close to, Gates said.

Forest grew up in Rochester, New Hampshire, the son of a police officer. He and his wife were staying temporarily at the house in Berwick until they found another place, Gates said.

Forest worked for many years in the electrical field and enjoyed carpentry work, landscaping, cooking, riding his motorcycle and custom LED lighting work, according to his obituary. His family described him as a hardworking and protective person who had a way with words and was known for “making something out of nothing.”

“Mark was very passionate about his family, especially spending quality time with his children and making special memories with each one of them,” his family wrote in his obituary.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: