Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Two Sex Offenders Slain While Suspect Does Suicide

A quiet Cape Breton dishwasher suspected of killing two Maine sex offenders had visited an online registry that listed their names and addresses, a U.S. official said Monday.

Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said the two victims were among 34 names that Stephen Marshall, 20, of North Sydney, N.S., had looked up on the state website.

"The events of the weekend will obviously be reviewed, but there are no plans to change the site at this point," McCausland said.

Investigators searching for a link between Marshall and the murdered Americans discovered that the young Canadian had entered his name on the sex offender registry in order to get more information, including the street addresses of the victims.

Despite the possible break in the case, police still have more questions than answers about what might connect Marshall to the murdered men. Marshall's father, Ralph Marshall, told reporters Monday that his son didn't appear troubled and never said he had been sexually abused.

"Right now, everything seems to be about speculation," he said.

Most of the answers may have died with Marshall, who shot himself in the head when cornered by police on a bus outside Boston on Sunday. A laptop computer was found with his body.

The bodies of the victims in the puzzling double-murder-suicide were found in their homes about 40 kilometres apart in towns in Maine.

Marshall, of North Sydney, N.S., was named as "a person of interest" in the deaths of Joseph Gray, 57, of Milo, Me., and William Elliott, 24, of Corinth, Me.

The names and addresses of the victims were on the online registry until state authorities suspended access to the site after the killings.

Gray's name was posted on the state registry because he had moved to Maine after he was convicted in Massachusetts of sexually assaulting a child under 14. Elliott's conviction was for having sex with a girl under the legal age. Marshall was last seen in Cape Breton on Thursday.

Police in Maine said a witness saw him leave the second shooting scene in Corinth in a white pickup Sunday morning, about five hours after the first shooting in Milo was reported.

The truck, which belonged to Marshall's father, was later found abandoned near an arena in Bangor, Me. After a 12-hour manhunt that stretched through three states, police pulled over a bus from Bangor as it approached Boston at 7:25 p.m. EDT.

As officers climbed aboard, Marshall was 13 rows behind the driver in a window seat. He pulled out a .45-calibre handgun and shot himself in the head, said David Procopio, spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney.

When paramedics arrived, they found a second handgun in Marshall's possession. Marshall died at 11:24 p.m. at Boston Medical Center.

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