A parolee from Aroostook County who served 25 years of a life sentence for a 1974 murder there is back in prison for a parole violation stemming from a deer-baiting investigation in Somerville last November.
Gary T. Mahaney, 71, recently of 97 Mount Vernon Ave. Apt. 2 in Augusta, also faces two counts each of class B aggravated forgery and class C possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, and a single count each of class E illegally baiting deer and refusing to submit to arrest, according to court documents.
On Oct. 22, 2015, Maine Game Warden Joey Lefebvre found a game camera overlooking a pile of apples in woods off Turner Ridge Road in Somerville, according to an affidavit containing his account of the investigation. Maine law prohibits the use of bait – such as fruit – to hunt deer.
Lefebvre returned to the area Nov. 5 and found a pair of tree stands overlooking the bait. The name of a Somerville man was on the tree stands. The man could not legally hunt due to a trespassing conviction from the previous year.
On Nov. 10, Maine Warden Service Sgt. Christopher Simmons and Lefebvre confronted a hunter leaving one of the stands. The hunter allegedly fled, according to the affidavit.
“The hunter ran through the woods with his rifle in hand,” Lefebvre said in the affidavit. “I yelled again (and) drew my handgun. Sgt. Simmons and I chased the subject through the woods, repeatedly yelling for him to drop the gun. The male threw his gun in the woods just prior to me reaching him.”
Lefebvre handcuffed the man, who he thought was the Somerville man whose name was on the tree stands. After catching on, the hunter posed as the Somerville man, according to the affidavit.
The warden summoned the man for the bait and revocation violations, and the man allegedly signed the summonses as the Somerville man, according to court documents.
A few days later, however, the Somerville man contacted the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to contest the summonses, saying he was not the hunter the wardens had encountered.
The Somerville man told Lefebvre the man was Mahaney. Mahaney had gone to the Somerville man’s house immediately after the incident on Nov. 10, telling him about the encounter and asking him to accept the summonses, according to the affidavit.
The Somerville man later told wardens he “couldn’t take the rap for this because he would lose his hunting license for another three to five years and pay a big fine,” according to the affidavit.
Lefebvre ran a background check and discovered Mahaney was on parole for murder. Mahaney also has felony convictions for assault with intent to kill for shooting at a game warden while poaching deer in 1970 and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in 1975, according to court documents and newspaper accounts.
The resulting investigation led wardens to a trailer in the Aroostook County town of Masardis, population 249. Mahaney’s parole conditions prohibit him from entering Aroostook or Penobscot counties, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Mahaney was “hiding out” at the trailer – the home of another convicted felon with a record including attempted murder – and “plans to flee to Massachusetts to avoid prosecution,” Game Warden Gary Sibley said in an affidavit.
The Maine State Police Tactical Team arrested Mahaney without incident on Dec. 2, 2015, according to Maine Warden Service spokesman Cpl. John MacDonald.
Mahaney’s parole was immediately revoked, according to Maine Department of Corrections Deputy Commissioner Jody Breton. Regardless of whether he is convicted on the new charges, Mahaney violated parole by entering Aroostook County.
“We do know he was out of location,” Breton said. “If he violates parole, the probation officer can revoke him.”
Mahaney is in custody at the Maine State Prison in Warren. The Maine State Parole Board has agreed to hear the case again in 2 1/2 years, according to Breton.
Mahaney and David C. Bradbury, now 66, murdered Rand E. Blanchard, 26, in Westfield, near Mahaney’s hometown of Mars Hill, in December 1974, according to court documents and newspaper accounts. The murder was revenge for the burning of Mahaney’s trailer a few months prior, according to prosecutors.
Blanchard had been drinking with Bradbury and Mahaney the evening of Dec. 14, 1974, according to court records. His body was found in a car in a remote area known as “the burntlands” on Dec. 16, 1974.
“The examining pathologist recovered six bullets from the body and attributed the death to gunshot wounds to the head,” according to court records. The examiner placed his time of death between 12-2 a.m. Dec. 15.
Police did not charge Bradbury and Mahaney until 1979, after an investigation of a marijuana-trafficking operation involving Bradbury, Mahaney, and a Maine State Police detective uncovered evidence in the murders, according to newspaper accounts.
Mahaney was arrested in Westfield in April 1980. A jury found Bradbury and Mahaney guilty and both were sentenced to life in prison.
Mahaney did not admit to the murder until 2005, at which time he and Bradbury were granted parole, according to the Bangor Daily News. Maine eliminated parole in 1976, but Bradbury and Mahaney were eligible for parole because the murder was in 1974.
Only six people eligible for parole remain in the custody of the Maine Department of Corrections, according to Breton. The number includes Frank A. Cugliata, 63, a former Massachusetts man convicted of a drug-related murder in Nobleboro on Aug. 14, 1974.
Seventeen parolees live in the community under the supervision of the parole board, and Maine parole officers supervise another four parolees in the state through interstate compacts, according to Breton.
Bath attorney David Paris is representing Mahaney in his new case. Paris did not respond to a request for comment.
Mahaney is scheduled to appear at the Lincoln County Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 22.