Richard Stahursky does not deny stabbing fellow Maine State Prison inmate Micah Boland, 37, to death, and he is resigned to spending the rest of his life in prison.
But he and others say that a series of decisions by Department of Corrections staff resulted in a seriously violent and mentally ill prisoner being in close proximity to a child molester, a type of criminal widely reviled in the prison system but especially so by Stahursky, who had himself been abused as a child.
Stahursky, 35, said in a letter to the Portland Press Herald that the makeshift knives he used to stab Boland repeatedly in late February also had the name of a corrections officer on them, an officer he said made him miserable.
The Knox County grand jury indicted Stahursky this week on charges of intentional, knowing or depraved indifference murder, aggravated attempted murder and trafficking in prison contraband.
He’s already facing decades in prison.
Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said the state will prosecute him, even though there may be little change in his circumstances.
“The only mechanism we have is what’s available to us in the law and that’s further imprisonment,” Stokes said. “If convicted, he will be in prison for the rest of his life.”
On Feb. 28, while many inmates were getting dinner, Stahursky, who also has used the last name Clements, sneaked into Boland’s cell, shut the door and then knocked Boland to the ground, according to a police affidavit in the case based on an interview with Stahursky. As they struggled, Stahursky stabbed Boland 87 separate times, the police report said.
In the affidavit, Stahursky explained his attack, saying he had lost a coveted job of moving material between pods in the Warren prison because he had been accused of moving contraband as well. He said it wasn’t true and asked the prison to investigate the allegations against him, but he said unit managers and the inner-perimeter security team refused to look into it, according to the police affidavit.
Stahursky said he did his own investigation and decided Boland was the one disparaging him. He decided to take revenge.
HOPELESSNESS IN THE ‘DARK DAYS’
The groundwork for Stahursky’s behavior was laid years ago.
“From what I understand, the first 10 years of his life, he was sexually abused and he has this deep, profound hatred of child molesters and the administrators knew about it and he voiced it to whoever would listen,” said Steve Lewicki, coordinator for the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition. Lewicki also served time with Stahursky and knew him through friends before he went to prison.
Stahursky is severely mentally disabled, and his troubled prison life compounded his illness, Lewicki said.
“Richard has profound problems. Those undoubtedly were exacerbated by the time he spent in solitary confinement, which is substantial,” Lewicki said. “He spent a couple years down there and just kept getting in more and more trouble. He was down there in the dark days, before the reforms came,” he said, saying there was little mental health treatment and the experience was full of hopelessness and despair.
Stahursky said in letters to advocates that he spent most of nine years in solitary confinement.
JOB CARRIED CERTAIN STATUS
Stahursky’s current sentence is for much longer than he was originally sent to prison for in 2002 on burglary and theft convictions. That’s because he has gotten into trouble repeatedly, including assaulting corrections officers and attacking other inmates with shanks. Between 2005 and 2007, he was transferred to a prison in Arizona. There he was written up for disrespect to an officer and possession of a prison-made weapon, but faced no new criminal charges, said a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections.
In Maine, Stahursky was vocal about his dislike for pedophiles. Corrections Officer Kaycee Edwards, who was overseeing the pod the day Boland was killed, said in a police affidavit that Stahursky often talked about how much he hated pedophiles.
The prison used to try harder to avoid housing inmates in the same area who might be a threat to one another, Lewicki said. Now, many inmates who have hostility toward each other are forced to sleep in the same area.
“Maine State Prison is regularly and systematically mixing in prisoners that shouldn’t be mixed together, and this is a major concern for MPAC,” Lewicki said.
In a letter to Lewicki, Stahursky laid much of the blame for the attack on staff for not responding to his complaints about losing his job as a hallway worker.
“I told them if they didn’t do their investigation, I’d do my own. All I wanted was my name to be cleared,” he said. “If everyone did their job, we wouldn’t be in this.”
Lewicki said it may seem strange on the outside that a person would attach such value to a job that may seem menial.
“Prisoners are human beings and human beings need meaning in their life. That job carried with it certain status in the prison,” Lewicki said. “There’s a hierarchy in the prison just like there is in society. When these things happen to you, it brings your place down on the ladder.”
The job also carried a $50-a-month stipend, which enables inmates to buy hygiene items, he said.
Lewicki said that he and the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition do not condone the attack and are concerned about the welfare of all inmates. They have been in contact with Boland’s family, Lewicki said.
PRISON OFFICIAL’S NAME WAS ON LIST
After the killing, police found a list of five names, including Boland, hidden in a false bottom of a Noxzema jar in Stahursky’s cell.
Police did not call it a hit list and neither did Stahursky. But he did say the name of at least one prison supervisor was on it, according to the letter he sent to the Portland Press Herald. He said the unit manager had repeatedly given him items like wool and fish that he knew Stahursky was allergic to, among other antagonisms.
“Both murder weapons had a sergeant’s name on them,” he wrote. “At least one of them were meant for him for the threats he made to me.”
No date has been set for Stahursky’s initial court appearance, which is likely to be by video link from the prison, officials said.
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: