Joseph Eaton walks into a courtroom at West Bath District Court for his arraignment last July. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

The man who confessed to shooting his parents and two family friends in a Bowdoin home last year has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Cynthia and David Eaton, left, and friends Bob and Patti Eger, were found dead in the Egers’ home in Bowdoin on April 18, 2023.

Joseph Eaton faces four counts of murder in the deaths of his parents, Cynthia and David Eaton, and their friends, Bob and Patti Eger, as well as one count of aggravated attempted murder and six counts of attempted murder among several other charges. He will appear in Sagadahoc County Superior Court on Monday afternoon, according to court documents.

Eaton told the Press Herald in a series of interviews last June that he was not in control of his actions when he shot them on April 17, 2023.

A court schedule sent out Friday by the attorney general’s office says the two sides have reached “an agreed upon plea” in the case, but a spokesperson said they could not share any more information.

Eaton’s defense attorney did not return messages Friday afternoon asking for details on the plea agreement.

Eaton initially pleaded not guilty and not criminally responsible by reason of insanity, but withdrew his insanity plea in December 2023.


His older brother John Eaton has said David and Cynthia were “the life of the party.” When they lived in Wichita, Kansas, they rode motorcycles and hosted potlucks with friends. Cynthia was a strong-willed confidant, and David was stern but fair.

In interviews just after the killings, friends remembered Bob Eger as someone who “would give you the shirt off his back,” and Patti Eger as a loving, charitable person.

After the shooting, according to court documents, Eaton drove south on Interstate 295 and opened fire on several cars, injuring 51-year-old Sean Halsey of Bowdoinham and his children, Justin Halsey, 29, and Paige Halsey, 26.

He then surrendered to police in Yarmouth, telling them he was still feeling the effects of several drugs he took after killing his parents.

From Eaton’s cell at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, he talked with a Press Herald reporter about his “psychotic break” in April 2023, days after he finished a five-year prison sentence. He described his violent and troubled life, including struggles with mental health, childhood sexual abuse and drug use, but said nothing could explain why he killed four people he loved.

“These people were my family. This was all my family,” he said in a June 2023 interview. “Sometimes there are no answers.”


Before his arraignment last summer, he said that he was ready for any charges.

“People are no longer walking this earth because of me,” Eaton said. “Whatever the punishment is, I deserve it.”

But his insanity plea angered some family members of the victims. Patti Eger’s brother, Peter G. DeRaps, called Eaton “an evil, selfish, coward” after the hearing.

Eaton has said he wanted to force the court to “figure out what’s wrong” with him and order a forensic evaluation. When he withdrew that plea, the state was not able to view that report detailing Eaton’s mental health evaluations.

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