LYNN, Mass. – A Massachusetts man charged with killing his mother and grandmother, dumping their bodies behind an elementary school, then arrested in Maine as he allegedly tried to flee to Canada, was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Thursday.

Joseph Wright, 23, of Lynn faces two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of Donna Breau, 54, and Melba Trahant, 83. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf. Maned by shaggy, dark hair, Wright showed no emotion in the court proceeding.

The family lived in the same multifamily home in Lynn, with Wright living with his mother in one unit, and his grandmother living in the unit below.

The women’s bodies were found by a custodian Tuesday morning behind an elementary school in adjacent Saugus, but it appears that they were killed at the family home.

Prosecutors described a gruesome scene. The victims had their throats slashed “from ear to ear” and the home was “saturated with blood,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Patten said. Investigators found a knife at the scene.

Prosecutors did not disclose a motive for the killings at the arraignment. Court records show Wright had had some minor run-ins with the law before.


Wright was caught by Canadian authorities as he tried to cross from Maine into New Brunswick on Tuesday evening.

He was driving his grandmother’s car at the time. Investigators said they found blood on the car’s windows and rear fender, and on Wright’s undershorts.

Canadian authorities turned him over to Maine State Police. Wright agreed to return to Massachusetts during a brief hearing on Wednesday before a judge via video conference in Houlton, Maine, where he faced a fugitive from justice charge. He arrived back in Massachusetts in the predawn hours Thursday.

Wright’s court-appointed attorney did not argue for bail and said he would seek a psychiatric evaluation for his client to see if there are any mental health issues.

Wright is due back in court May 29.


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