An Arundel man who police say fatally injured his infant son by grabbing him by the head and throwing him into a chair was charged with murder Wednesday.

Gordon Collins-Faunce is scheduled to appear Friday morning in York County District Court in Alfred. He is being held on $100,000 bail in the York County Jail, where he is on suicide watch, according to county officials.

Ten-week-old Ethan Henderson was injured in his home on Saturday and Collins-Faunce was charged with elevated aggravated assault on Sunday. Tuesday morning, the boy died, which made the case a homicide and gave the Maine Attorney General’s Office responsibility for prosecuting it.

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said Collins-Faunce is charged with depraved indifference murder, which is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.

Unlike other types of murder in state law, depraved indifference murder does not imply intent to kill the victim, Stokes said. “It looks at the quality of the conduct and whether the risk of death from serious bodily injury of that conduct is so high it can be described as savage or brutal or outrageous, showing a total lack of regard for the value of human life.”

Stokes would not discuss details of the case, including when state protective workers learned of allegations of abuse in the home and what was done in response.

He said he could not release details, despite the keen public interest, because the murder investigation is just beginning and premature release of some details could compromise the state’s case.

The case is likely to be presented to a York County grand jury next month.

On Wednesday, friends and family members mourned the loss of Ethan Henderson and struggled to understand what happened.

Collins-Faunce’s adoptive father, Irving Faunce, said he and his wife, Jan Collins, were “consumed by grief. Ethan did not deserve to die.”

Faunce, who was the mayor in Gardiner and a selectman in Wilton, is a health care consultant who has been outspoken about domestic violence. He has held prominent positions in state government, serving on the Maine Human Rights Commission, the Board of Environmental Protection and the Board of Corrections.

He said he and his wife adopted Collins-Faunce in 1997, after the boy had been in six foster homes over the course of five years. Collins-Faunce is now 23.

Police say in court papers that Collins-Faunce was physically and sexually abused while in foster care, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has been taking medication for it.

Matt Barley of Texas, who knows Collins-Faunce from his time in the Army at Fort Polk in Louisiana at the end of 2010, said he never knew his friend to be violent.

“He seemed completely normal to me,” Barley said. “The only time it seemed off was when he started talking about fighting someone back in Maine. He got all aggressive when he talked about it. Other than that, nothing really.”

Barley said he didn’t know why Collins-Faunce left the Army.

“It seemed like he actually avoided getting into conflicts with other people, probably because any trouble he got into would just further his time there, and he wanted nothing more than to get out of Fort Polk and go home,” Barley said.

On Saturday, Ethan’s mother, Christina Henderson, went to work and Collins-Faunce stayed at home to watch their three children. He later told police that when he returned from smoking a cigarette outside the mobile home at 521 Limerick Road, he found Ethan and his 3-year-old half sister crying.

Collins-Faunce told police that he lost control and grabbed Ethan, squeezed his head and threw him into a chair so hard that his head snapped back, according to court papers. Ethan was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he died Tuesday from brain injuries.

Collins-Faunce told police that he broke Ethan’s arm when the boy was 4 weeks old. Court papers also say a day care provider told state workers that Ethan’s half sister had bruises all over her and that Ethan and his twin, Lucas, were sick and weren’t given medical attention.

The court papers do not say when the report was made to the Department of Health and Human Services or whether it was verified. The other children have been placed in state custody.

Collins-Faunce’s lawyer, Amy Fairfield, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Friends have created a Facebook page, Remembrance of Ethan Henderson, and plan a candlelight ceremony this weekend. The event is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Deering Oaks in Portland, according to the page.

A funeral will be held for family members and close friends at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Dennett, Craig & Pate Funeral home in Saco.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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