Windham resident Ed Woodbury sees his adopted son, Michael Woodbury, as a stranger.

Woodbury has said little publicly since his 31-year-old son was arrested last week and charged with three murders – a violent act that police believe ended a spree that left Michael Woodbury accused of crimes in six states.

Michael Woodbury, who has spent most of his adult life in prison, was in New Hampshire’s Carroll County Jail this week after police arrested him and charged him with shooting three men at an Army Barracks military surplus store in Conway.

“We do not really know Michael, therefore we are incapable of providing any constructive information,” Ed Woodbury said last week. “Our only contact with Michael, in the last 13 years, has been a few one-hour visits and some 15-minute phone calls. Michael was adopted by me when he was 7 years old and went to jail when he was 16. He is now 31 years old.”

While his father has said little, Michael Woodbury has been vocal whenever a reporter’s camera lens has been pointed at him. He’s admitted to the murders and blamed his actions on the Maine prison officials who let him out without probation.

Woodbury’s neighbor Patty Paige, 73, of Windham, said she remembers when Michael Woodbury and a friend were building a fort in the woods and her foster children were pelted with rocks when they tried to go near it. She said Michael Woodbury later came over and apologized on his own.

“He was very polite,” she said of that particular instance.

Woodbury found himself confessing again last week, but this time without the apology. As Woodbury walked to an Oxford County courthouse to face an extradition hearing last week, reporters asked him if he had killed James Walker, 34, of Denmark, Maine, William Jones, 25, of Walpole, Mass., and Gary Jones, 23, of Plymouth, Mass.

“Unfortunately, I did,” said Woodbury while being escorted by two Oxford County deputies last Thursday outside the South Paris District Court before he was extradited to New Hampshire.

When reporters asked him whether he had anything to say to the families of the vicitms, Woodbury said, “There’s not much you can say.”

Although Woodbury was unwilling to express remorse, Ed Woodbury expressed horror about the murders. “Our hearts and our prayers go out to the families of the victims,” he said.

“The one I’m worried about is Ed,” said Paige. She said she feels Woodbury’s adopted father is getting unfairly blamed in the media for the crimes of his estranged son.

“Mike was bad, he was always going to be bad,” said Paige. “Some people try to come around and blame the parents for everything. It’s not the parents’ fault.”

Paige said that the neighborhood near Dundee Park off River Road Michael Woodbury grew up in is no longer around. Most of the residents have moved away and the flavor of the area has improved.

“We don’t want to comment, and we’re sick of the media,” said Heidi Bernier, who lives in the neighborhood. Most residents interviewed said they had never laid eyes on him.

Paige said a seedy crowd used to hang around the Great Falls Dam where Windham Center Road crosses into Gorham and becomes North Gorham Road.

She said Michael Woodbury and his friends would go swimming there and that there was a lot of fighting and drugs. She said it’s possible that he was influenced by this negative environment.

“This is a really tough time for me,” said Woodbury’s biological father, Larry Secord, of Kings Hills Estates in Naples. He gave Michael Woodbury up for adoption at the age of 7. He said he did not wish to comment further.

Ed Woodbury said his adopted son was in the Windham school system until 10th grade. He said he didn’t participate in any after-school programs and went to jail when he was 16 for armed robbery.

“He got his GED in jail,” said Ed Woodbury.

Michael Woodbury has been in and out of prison for robbery and theft ever since. He has been incarcerated at the Cumberland County Correctional Center in Windham, a prison in Florida, and most recently the super-maximum security Maine State Prison in Warren before being released May 5.

Ed Woodbury said he had already disowned Michael weeks before the fatal shootings. He gave his adopted son an ultimatum when he was released from prison in May after serving five years for armed robbery.

“I told him if he wants to play it straight and fly by the rules, I’ll do my best to support him,” said Ed Woodbury. “But, if he screws up once, it’s over.”

Murders not the beginning

Michelle Roberge of Windham said her 18-year-old daughter, Megan Reeves, met Woodbury through a friend two months ago after he was released from prison.

On June 4, Reeves and her sister Renee Gagne, 17, took the black 2005 Suzuki Aerio registered to their mother and, according to Roberge, left for Arizona. Roberge said they brought Woodbury along with the intention of dropping him off in Florida, a detour of more than 700 miles.

On the morning of June 6, Woodbury allegedly robbed the main office of the Wachovia Bank in Florence, S.C. with a gun. Major Carlos Raines of the Florence Police Department would not reveal the amount taken.

Two days later in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Gagne departed from the trio. Roberge said she was booted out of the car by Woodbury.

On June 12, Reeves and Woodbury allegedly burglarized the home of a wealthy couple in St. Simons Island, Ga. After looting the Glynn County home, they allegedly set it on fire. The fire department originally thought it was an electrical fire. The house was a total loss.

Roberge said her daughters told her they were intimidated by Woodbury into participating in the crime spree.

On June 18 in Franklin, Ky., Woodbury allegedly held a knife to Reeves’ throat and told her he was going to kill her.

Deputy Sheriff Eddie Lawson of Simpson County in Kentucky, where Franklin is located, said Reeves was able to get away from him and lock herself in a bathroom stall in a Flying J truck stop with two knives. She wrote her name and details of the crime spree on the walls with eyeliner and included contact information for her family while she waited for Woodbury to break in after her.

He never did. Law enforcement officers were called when Woodbury started making a fuss and he escaped into the woods on foot.

“We believe he stole a car from our jurisdiction,” said Deputy Lawson. Woodbury was spotted driving the stolen car the next day in Chattanooga, Tenn. Woodbury is the main suspect in a knifepoint robbery committed June 19 at a Chattanooga clothing store.

In the Flying J parking lot, Simpson County sheriff’s deputies opened up the car from Maine, its month-old tires worn down from two weeks of hard driving, and found some items from the Georgia home inside and a roll of film, Roberge said.

On the roll of film were photos of Woodbury and Reeves with their arms around each other in the neighborhood of the house they allegedly robbed and burned down in Georgia.

Reeves told the Simpson County Sheriff’s Department about the crime spree. She was arrested two days later on June 20 on a warrant from Georgia when she and her mother attempted to return to Maine. She is charged with burglary and first-degree arson.

Roberge, the mother of Megan Reeves, said she has been asked to not comment any further on the case by her lawyer John Wetzler, who is representing her daughter in court.

She said in an interview two weeks ago that her daughters were threatened into helping and was afraid that Woodbury would come back to Maine to hurt them.

“My family is living in fear that he is going to kill us,” she said a week before Woodbury opened fire on three men in Conway.

Caught in the state he started from

On July 2, in what he labeled a botched robbery attempt, Woodbury shot three men in the head and chest at the army surplus store in Conway, N.H. After a massive 24-hour-long manhunt, Woodbury was spotted wearing the same clothes the next day in Fryeburg. He was walking along the Mountain Division railroad tracks behind the Curves for Women fitness club when Officer Michael Hall of the Fryeburg Police Department made the arrest.

When asked whether he still had the murder weapon with him at the time of his arrest, Fryeburg Police Chief Wayne Brooking declined comment.

“I can’t comment on that, and no one can. The orders are from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office,” he said.

Woodbury, a convicted felon, could not legally purchase a handgun and law enforcement have not revealed where he got the gun.

New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Karen Huntress declined to comment, saying that state law doesn’t allow her to make any comments on the case to the media.

Last Friday, Woodbury penned a rambling two-page letter to Judge Pamela Albee at Northern Carroll County District Court complaining of mistreatment in his holding cell. He wrote exclusively in capital letters and misspelled words.

He claimed his cell was strewn with feces and urine and complained of having Taser shock weapons pointed at him. He ended the letter with, “I am requesting to be transfered. I feel like some of the staff here is taking it personally that I murdered three of their citizens, I must be transfered.”

“At this point he hasn’t been a disciplinary issue,” said Capt. Jason Johnson of the Carroll County Jail. He said Woodbury is quiet when in his cell.

Whenever a camera lens has been pointed at him, however, Woodbury has been especially vocal while maintaining an icy demeanor.

In an online profile he wrote on Cyberspace Inmates, a pen pal Web site for prisoners, Woodbury described himself as a pagan who likes role-playing games and medieval fantasy novels. He said he was looking for a male soul mate who is willing to cross dress. ///His profile also included two photographs of another person, but claimed they were of him./////

Charged with three counts of first-degree murder in New Hampshire, Woodbury is scheduled to appear before the Northern Carroll County District Court again on July 18 for his probable cause hearing.

The four southern states Woodbury is accused of committing crimes in do not plan to take Woodbury to trial.

“I do not perceive him ever getting out of prison,” said Det. Dale Taylor of the Chattanooga Police Department. He said his department is not planning to take Woodbury to court for the robbery because he’ll probably be locked up in New Hampshire for the rest of his life.

If Woodbury manages to get out of the three life-sentences he’s looking at, Taylor said he will be put on trial for the crimes he allegedly committed in the south.

“I’ll be dead or retired before that ever happens,” he said.


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