LEWISTON — The identity of remains recovered in the rubble of an Auburn home burned by a Lewiston man June 15 were made public Wednesday.

The Maine Office of the Chief Medical examiner identified the arson victim as 43-year-old Brian Woodbury. The cause of his death is pending further studies, according to that office.

Woodbury was the friend of a woman who lived in the home on Russell Avenue in Auburn that was intentionally set ablaze by Leein Hinkley, 43, police said.

The woman, who was Hinkley’s ex-girlfriend, had escaped to safety early on that Saturday morning after Hinkley had gone to her Russell Street home in violation of court orders.

Auburn firefighters hose down the remains of an Auburn home June 15. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file

Woodbury had apparently come to the door of the home and encountered Hinkley. The two struggled and Hinkley fled and set a fire that burned the woman’s home with Woodbury inside.

Hinkley retreated to a nearby garage, then another home and exchanged gunfire with police before he was either fatally shot by a Maine State Police tactical unit or by a self-inflicted gunshot, according to conflicting reports.


Because Hinkley’s death is being investigated as an apparent officer-involved shooting, the cause and manner of his death are being withheld at the request of the Office of the Attorney General, according state agency spokespersons.

Woodbury’s whereabouts had been unknown until his remains were recovered in the rubble of his girlfriend’s home and later identified.

The events of that morning have sparked a debate over the actions of a judge who had lowered Hinkley’s bail because Hinkley had been in jail and had attended several court hearings without a court-appointed attorney assigned to his case.

The Maine judiciary and criminal defense attorneys have aligned themselves with the judge and defended her actions; Gov. Janet Mills, along with law enforcement organizations and the District Attorney’s Office for Androscoggin County, have criticized the judge’s decision.

Tina H. Nadeau, executive director of the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said in a media statement that her organization “shares in the shock and grief of the community” but the events involving Hinkley “should not be used as a reason to hold people accused of crimes without reasonable bail where release is appropriate.”

Nadeau said defendants are released on bail daily in courtrooms around the state “without the tragic violence we saw in Auburn.”


She said public safeguards are not limited to physical safety considerations, but also include constitutional protections.

“Both must be priorities in a functional judicial system,” she said.

By contrast, the Lewiston Police Department Patrol Union released a statement blasting the judge who, they said, “blatantly disregarded the safety of a domestic violence victim, our community, and the officers who repeatedly put their lives on the line to respond and apprehend offenders like Hinkley.”

In its statement, the union wrote: “There has been a gross mishandling of justice and we ask that those responsible be held accountable.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: