A day after Eugene “Charlie” Martineau was charged with depraved indifference murder in the death of his 31/2-month-old son, family members and friends described Martineau as a loving father on Tuesday, saying he was never violent and never would have purposely hurt the child.

“He was being a good father,” said Rich Theriault, a friend whom Martineau stayed with on the night of Oct. 21, after his son, Leo Josephs, had been admitted to the hospital. Martineau, 24, told Theriault that he believed the boy’s injuries were an accident. “He said he didn’t do anything intentionally to hurt the child,” Theriault said.

Martineau’s mother, Anna Mercer, said her son and the baby’s mother, Julia Josephs, had slept at her house on the night of Oct. 20. The next day, rescue workers were called there for a report of Leo Josephs having a seizure.

“He never showed any kind of violence around these babies,” Mercer said of her son. “I love my son. I know if any of this happened, it had to be an accident of some sort, but I’m so angry still because it is my grandbaby that I lost.”

Police have not released any details about what happened and why they believe Martineau is responsible for Leo’s death. A court affidavit laying out the state’s probable cause to arrest Martineau was impounded by Superior Court Justice Andrew Horton until early December.

The Portland Press Herald has filed an objection with the court, arguing that the affidavit should not be sealed. Citing case law, the newspaper’s attorney said the public has a constitutional right to access criminal records unless there is a compelling government interest to keep them secret. The affidavit was sealed at the request of Martineau’s lawyer, though he did not provide a reason in court for his request.


Leo and his twin sister, Leah, were born prematurely on July 2. The girl remains at Maine Medical Center because of complications from the early birth, but Leo was released at the beginning of August. Martineau, whom authorities listed as homeless, and Josephs were staying in a room at a multifamily house on Bonny Eagle Road in Standish, but had been told they had to move out by Nov. 1.

The couple took their child to Martineau’s mother’s house. She had been planning to bring them to a new apartment in Sanford, Mercer said Tuesday.

Mercer said she visited Leo several times and never saw any bruises on him as some residents of the house in Standish have alleged. Fayeleen Forest, who owned the house in Standish, told Mercer she had seen marks on Leo’s face. Mercer went to investigate, but didn’t see any.

“I looked at that baby and didn’t see a thing. I just thought it was hogwash,” she said.

Mercer went to work the morning of Oct. 21 and when she returned shortly after noon, she said she ran up the stairs, eager to see her grandson.

“Eugene was standing by my door: ‘Mom, we got to go. We got to go. Leo’s in the hospital,” she recalled, tears welling in her eyes.


Rescue workers had been called to the home in south Gray shortly after 11 a.m. Both Martineau and Julia Josephs were home. The rescue workers rushed the infant to Maine Medical Center. They only had room for one parent and the child’s mother rode with him in the ambulance.

As Mercer drove Martineau to the hospital, he explained that Leo had stopped breathing. “He started going really stiff and hard and started shaking. Eugene said it really scared him,” she said, adding that he didn’t offer any explanation of what had happened to the baby.

At the hospital, Mercer was asked to wait outside the room where they were treating Leo. Julia came out crying and Mercer tried to console her. When Mercer went looking for Martineau, he was gone. It was the last time she saw her son, except for pictures of him appearing in court, images she said broke her heart.

The day the baby was brought into the hospital, Martineau showed up at Theriault’s house in Hollis, saying he had walked from Portland.

Theriault knew something bad had happened, having received a series of messages from Josephs.

“She was saying all these accusations: ‘He’s been beating my kid when I’m not home. … He doesn’t care about the kids,’ ” Theriault said.


Josephs worked at a local bakery, 35 hours a week, Theriault said.

When Martineau sat in Theriault’s house, he looked overwhelmed.

“He looked like he had lost his world. He looked like he was about to explode from anxiety,” Theriault said.

Martineau then told him how Leo might have been injured.

Martineau said that as part of caring for Leo they had to press on the child’s abdomen to help him move his bowels. Premature infants are more prone to constipation and massaging the abdomen can help, according to parenting websites. Martineau said that maybe he pressed too hard and broke the baby’s ribs, Theriault recounted.

Martineau said that earlier that day, he and Josephs had been fighting and that she was holding the baby. The couple had been together for a few years but they fought often.


Martineau told him that Josephs was moving the baby sharply back and forth and the child’s head “looked like it was on a swivel,” Theriault said. Then Josephs fell toward him and when Martineau lunged forward to catch them, the baby’s head struck his collarbone, possibly injuring the child, Theriault said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner completed an autopsy Monday, but has yet to rule on a cause of death, saying it is pending further study to make sure all possible contributing factors have been considered. The office expects to issue its report by next week.

Theriault has been close to Martineau since they were sophomores in high school in Old Orchard Beach and said his friend always has been honest with him and he doesn’t doubt him now.

“I know him better than he knows himself,” Theriault said. “Even after everything I would still trust him with my life.”

Martineau spent the night then left the next day, walking to the local convenience store where Theriault works.

While Martineau was there, Josephs came in.


“She told him ‘You’re the one getting in trouble for this, not me,'” said Theriault, who was working at the time.

Theriault, like several of Martineau’s friends and family who have posted to Facebook, feels that Josephs has some culpability in the child’s death. Authorities wouldn’t comment on that possibility.

Leo’s twin sister, Leah Josephs, is now in state custody, while caseworkers consider the best placement.

Mercer doesn’t believe her son would ever willfully hurt his child.

“I love my son with all my heart and my soul, and I think he’s a great kid. Don’t get me wrong, when he got angry he did get angry. He never hit anybody that I know, never been in a real fight before.”

She concedes she wasn’t a good mother when her children were young, relinquishing them to state custody, and that Martineau had a difficult time growing up. She regrets it now and wants to support Martineau as best she can.

“He is a good-hearted man. He’s done nothing but help anybody and everybody,” she said.


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