July 13, 2020

Attack halted progress in family life> Stabbing dashed hopes of Fortin’s reconciliation with ex-wife, estranged son

DOVER-FOXCROFT — After a lengthy divorce, Eugene Fortin and his ex-wife were beginning to reconcile. Fortin’s estranged son, Jared Fortin, was starting to forge a new relationship with a father who had distanced himself after the divorce.

But any chances for reconciliation with his ex-wife and son were dashed when Fortin, 70, was stabbed and left for dead after being robbed on a rural Canaan road Oct. 4, 1994.

The resident of Levis, Quebec, was en route to Winslow to visit his relatives when he lost his way about 8 p.m. in the small Somerset County town. He accepted the help offered him by Michael Thompson, 36, of Canaan. With Fortin following in his vehicle, Thompson, Cory Trial, Debbie Turcotte, Jodi Olsen and Linwood Steward, all of the Canaan-Skowhegan area, led the elderly man to a remote section where he was beaten, stabbed and robbed.

Thompson, who has been charged with robbery and aggravated assault, is now on trial in Piscataquis County Superior Court.

Trial, 22, of Skowhegan, and Olsen, 22, of Canaan, pleaded guilty to robbery. Trial is serving a 20-year sentence and Olsen just completed a four-year sentence.

“He had a lot to share with his grandchildren,” said the victim’s daughter-in-law, Meloney Fortin, of Winslow, who is attending the trial. Meloney Fortin was looking forward to meeting her father-in-law for the first time in October and introducing him to her three children.

“We were going to have a great big old bash, a get-together,” she said, during a break in Thompson’s trial. Meloney Fortin had kept herself busy during the trial knitting an orange afghan until a court official took it from her and placed it in the rear of the courtroom. The official said the needles could be considered a dangerous weapon.

Eugene Fortin, who had previously lived in Maine while working in the woods, had enjoyed music, according to Meloney Fortin. He was a craftsman and a musician who especially liked playing the violin, guitar and accordion, she said.

Today, Fortin is totally debilitated and a resident of a Quebec nursing home. Two strokes that occurred before the attack left him with a limp and slurred speech, but he could care for himself, she said. Because of the attack, he suffered another stroke, which caused him to become an invalid.

“We need a closure for Jared’s father. We need time to heal,” Meloney Fortin said.

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