ALFRED – On Saturday morning, Michael Swenson appeared at the home of a friend in Saco.

He told him how he and Roger White had gotten into an argument, how they had stepped outside the bar, and how White had hit him on the top of his head and choked him.

Then, he told his friend, he went “ballistic” or “berserk.”

White’s body was found that day under mattresses in a lot off Old Orchard Beach’s main drag.

Swenson, 44, is charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of White, a 49-year-old carpenter and lifelong Old Orchard Beach resident. Swenson made his first court appearance in the case on Wednesday in York County Superior Court.

A police affidavit released after the brief proceeding describes Swenson as very emotional and crying as he told his friend Patrick Welch “it’s bad, it’s bad.”

“I think I killed somebody or that he killed somebody or both,” Swenson told Welch, according to the affidavit submitted by Maine State Police Detective Corey Pike.

Welch’s girlfriend, Michelle Goulet, returned home from a run and found the two men talking. Goulet asked the visibly upset Swenson a series of questions, including whether he had killed somebody, according to the affidavit.

“Why would I do something like that?” he replied before going out to smoke.

Goulet was nervous but went outside and continued to question him. Swenson told her that he had stabbed someone, cut this throat and put mattresses over him. Swenson said no one would ever find the knife.

“Goulet said Swenson told her that he was wrestling with the guy and trying to get him off from him and that the guy kept calling him a has-been. Swenson said he snapped,” the affidavit says.

The couple drove Swenson to the Old Orchard Beach police station, where Swenson told an officer he had gotten into a fight at the bar, the Whaler, and it was very bad. Pike and another state police detective, Ethel Ross, arrived. Swenson told the detectives that he wanted to speak to them, but wanted to talk to a lawyer first.

Before Swenson left, Ross noticed red-brown stains on his sneakers and the detectives collected his clothing and shoes, the affidavit says. They photographed what they believed to be fresh scratches and scrapes on his right forearm, the inner side of his left arm above the elbow, and his right leg below the knee.

Swenson was arrested Tuesday afternoon at the apartment in Scarborough he shares with his mother and girlfriend.

In the time between Swenson’s trip to the police station and his arrest, detectives learned of a makeshift shelter that Swenson had near railroad tracks in Old Orchard Beach. The affidavit indicates that police found items including a pair of brown cargo shorts with red-brown stains, bedding, beer bottles and a flashlight. It does not say whether a knife was among the items.

Police also spoke to Kimberly Picard, Swenson’s girlfriend, who said Swenson had told her Friday that he was going to get some “dope,” or Suboxone if he couldn’t find any. She accused him of taking some of her Klonopin medication.

White’s body was discovered Saturday morning. A resident of an apartment on Old Orchard Street found a pool of blood near the front door after going outside to urinate, according to the affidavit. (The residents had arrived in town Thursday and the water hadn’t been turned on.) The man looked over the fence and saw legs sticking out from under a pile of mattresses.

Flowers and candles now form a memorial atop a mattress in the grassy lot between Old Orchard Street and the Whaler, which White frequented.

On Wednesday, Swenson was not required to enter a plea during his brief appearance before Justice Arthur Brennan. He is being held without bail in the York County Jail.

Outside the courthouse, White’s sister Cheryl Boucher of Alfred described him as a good brother, the father of two, the grandfather of two and a man who lived life on his own terms. She said some of her siblings knew Swenson but she had never seen him before Wednesday morning.

“We heard about it last night,” she said of Swenson’s arrest. “My reaction was very happy. I actually smiled.”

In Scarborough, Carol Swenson, the defendant’s mother, described a son who took her under his wing after her open-heart surgery a year ago. He cared for her by cooking, cleaning and doing a host of other duties.

He learned to be a carpenter when he was 16 and worked for an uncle for whom he cared after a heart attack. He is the father of eight children.

She said the friendship between her son and White was long and close. They liked to party together, met up at least once a week and had no trouble between them as far as she knew, she said.

She remained shocked about her son’s arrest, unable to reconcile the allegations with the son she knows.

“I’m coping as best I can,” she said. “I’ve very upset and hope it wasn’t true.”

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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Twitter: AnnKimPPH