PORTLAND — The young man charged in the slashing deaths of a 10-year-old boy and two men in northern Maine appeared at times to be possessed by an evil force that caused him to erupt in anger, according to an Anglican priest who let the man live with him for two months.

The Rev. Lewis Glidden from St. Stephen The Martyr Anglican Church said he sometimes looked in Thayne Ormsby’s eyes and saw a demon staring back. Glidden allowed Ormsby to move in with him in December but kicked him out because parishioners were frightened by his angry outbursts.

“Thayne acted like a person possessed at times. He acted like he didn’t have control. He was capable of being very intimidating toward people,” Glidden said today.

Nonetheless, Glidden and another minister who baptized Ormsby a year ago said they were stunned to learn that he’d allegedly confessed to police that he killed the three people.

Ormsby, 20, is being held at Strafford County jail in New Hampshire, where he’s awaiting extradition to Maine to face charges in the stabbing deaths of Jeffrey Ryan, 55; Ryan’s son, Jesse; and Ryan’s neighbor, Jason Dehahn, 30, in the town of Amity. Their bodies were found on June 23 at Ryan’s mobile home.

It was unclear today whether Ormsby has an attorney. A jail spokesman says paperwork there doesn’t indicate whether he has a lawyer.

According to court documents, Ormsby told police he killed Jeff Ryan because he thought he was dealing drugs. But Jason DeHahn’s brother suggested that Ormsby was angry because Ryan didn’t want him moving in with Ryan’s 16-year-old daughter and the girl’s mother in the town of Weston.

Glidden became acquainted with Ormsby after his small parish joined another church, Holy Trinity in Fairfield, where Ormsby was attending services at the time. The Rev. Jeffrey Monroe, Holy Trinity’s vicar, said Ormsby seemed to be interested in turning his life around.

For a time, Ormsby lived in Farmington at the home of Republican congressional candidate John Frary, who failed in 2008 to unseat Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud.

They eventually parted ways last year, Frary said, after a disagreement over an overloaded washing machine. Frary said he never saw any “blowups or wild-eyed stuff.”

In December, Glidden agreed to let Ormsby live in his rectory in Oakland, where his church had moved. But he soon realized he’d made a mistake.

While Glidden was in China in January, several women who were doing work in the rectory contacted Glidden to express their fear of Ormsby. Glidden said a small amount of cash turned up missing and Ormsby disappeared for a week with his car, which Ormsby drove to Ellsworth.

“A demon right out of hell at times had control of Thayne. You would have to see a person’s eyes to see that force taking control,” Glidden said. When challenged, he said, “Thayne’s expression, his physical expression would change just like flicking a light switch.”

Monroe, who baptized Ormsby on June 18, 2009, said the victims’ families, as well as Ormsby, are in the prayers of parishioners at both Holy Trinity and St. Stephen The Martyr.

Both clergymen wonder if lives might have been spared if things had been handled differently.

“I’m just flabbergasted,” said Monroe, who let Ormsby perform work at his home in Cape Elizabeth. “I’m just sad, deeply troubled by all of this, because I didn’t see that in him. I felt that he was getting his life together.”