April 08, 2020
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Suspect in slaying indicted on lesser charge

SKOWHEGAN – Shannon Atwood, 36, whom prosecutors have identified as the prime suspect in the slaying of a Canaan woman and a person of interest in the disappearance of another, was indicted Thursday by a Somerset County grand jury on charges of terrorizing.

A trial will be held in November, state prosecutor Andrew Benson has announced, and a lengthy prison term sought.

Atwood lived with Cheryl Murdoch, 37, whose body was found Aug. 11 in woods in Canaan. Police have not revealed how they knew where to look for Murdoch’s body nor the cause of her death. Meanwhile, a massive search was launched for Shirley Moon Atwood, 35, Shannon Atwood’s estranged wife, who disappeared from her Route 23 home shortly before Murdoch did.

The charges against Shannon Atwood, which were originally three counts of criminal threatening and one count of reckless conduct, stem from a standoff with police who went to the Atwood home Aug. 13 to question Atwood after finding Murdoch’s body.

According to police, Atwood pointed a bow and arrow at police officers and said he had turned on the gas and was poised with a cigarette lighter.

A Maine state trooper found the gas tank on the side of the building and turned it off. The standoff lasted about 45 minutes, according to police reports, and no one was injured.

Forty other indictments against 16 individuals also were handed down Thursday. They included:

Daniel Jones, 25, Waterville, burglary, theft.

Angela Apotris, 25, Auburn, receiving stolen property.

Jonathan J. Michaud, 22, Augusta, five counts of theft by deception.

Dung Van Nguyen, 38, Jackman, aggravated assault.

Joseph Diaz, 25, Waterville, burglary, theft.

Benjamin Sickles, 27, Skowhegan, reckless conduct, assault, two counts of terrorizing.

Michael Weston, 30, Bangor, aggravated criminal mischief, disorderly conduct.

Shane Ricci, 39, Hartland, two counts of gross sexual assault.

Pike Lanctot, 31, Madison, operating after revocation.

Douglas Hutchins, 43, Skowhegan, eluding, theft, failure to stop, operating after suspension, driving to endanger.

Robert Less III, 23, Richmond, eluding, driving to endanger, criminal speed.

Scott Howard III, 19, Mercer, eluding, driving to endanger, criminal speed.

Leslie P. Farrar, 48, Norridgewock, operating after revocation.

Benjamin Grignon, 26, St. Albans, failure to report, violation of bail.

Shaun Corson, 29, Madison, burglary of motor vehicle, theft, operation after revocation.

Seth R. Labreck, 22, Fairfield, burglary, theft.

All defendants will appear for arraignment in Somerset County Superior Court at 8:15 a.m. Monday, Nov. 6.


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