October 11, 2013

Police: Woman slain in Old Town was pregnant

April Haskell was killed by her boyfriend who was later shot to death by police during a standoff.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

OLD TOWN — The woman killed by her boyfriend Wednesday in Old Town was pregnant with the couple’s third child, police said Thursday.

April Haskell, 35, was stabbed to death inside the couple’s apartment on Main Street. The couple’s two children were home at the time.

Haskell’s live-in boyfriend, Christopher Ouellette, 28, called police and told them he had stabbed her. He was shot by police during an ensuing standoff.

Maine State Police released more details about the incident Thursday.

Old Town police, Penobscot County Sheriff’s deputies and a state trooper surrounded the apartment building and began negotiations with Ouellette shortly after he called them. It was not clear whether Haskell was alive at the time, but she was dead by the time they entered the apartment.

“The only information we had – and it came from him – was that he had stabbed her,” said State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland.

The couple’s two children, 2 and 4, were in the apartment when Ouellette stabbed their mother. Police persuaded Ouellette to release them uninjured, McCausland said.

It’s not clear what led the trooper, Barry Meserve, a 15-year veteran, to shoot Ouellette. Police have not said whether Ouellette had a gun.

“I think it evokes all possible scenarios under 107” the justified-use-of-force statute, said William McKinley, who represents the Maine State Troopers Association. “The are multiple justifications for the use of deadly force here.”

He would not provide specifics about the incident.

Officers are justified in using deadly force if they fear for their own life or somebody else’s, or to arrest or prevent the escape of a suspect believed to have used deadly force or likely to seriously injure someone.

Meserve has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation by the Maine Attorney General’s Office, standard policy when an officer shoots someone.

Haskell’s death was the state’s 18th homicide this year and the seventh that involved domestic violence.

The couple had been together for six years and had two children.

Haskell, originally from Levant, worked as a housekeeper at the Quality Inn in Bangor. She attended Hermon High School and studied at Eastern Maine Technical College, according to her Facebook page. Her page includes several photographs of her with two young children.

Ouellette attended Dexter Regional High School, the class of 2000, according to his Facebook page. He was not working. Haskell and Ouellette had lived in the third-floor apartment in Old Town for two months, police said.

Ouellette was convicted of domestic violence assault in 2009 and paid a $300 fine, according to the State Bureau of Identification. The records do not identify the victim.

Police said late Wednesday that the couple’s two children were placed in the custody of relatives.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday said Ouellette died of a single gunshot to the head. The autopsy on Haskell is scheduled for Friday.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:dhench@mainetoday.com

CORRECTION: This story was updated Oct. 11 at 12:15 p.m. to correct the number of homicides in the state this year.

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