NORRIDGEWOCK — The deaths Saturday morning of a married couple in their home on Skowhegan Road appear to be a domestic violence murder-suicide, Maine State Police said.

They were identified as William Hale, 62, and his wife, Marie Lancaster-Hale, 58. Their bodies and that of their dog were found in the laundry room of the house. All three appear to have died from gunshot wounds, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Hale called the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office at 7:17 a.m. and said there would be two bodies at his house on Skowhegan Road, also known as U.S. Route 2, when deputies arrived, McCausland said. Hale also said an elderly woman at the home would need care.

Hale’s mother, Faye Hale, who lived at the house, was found sitting unharmed in a vehicle in the driveway, McCausland said. William Hale apparently helped his mother into the vehicle and then returned to the house, where he shot himself. She was taken to a hospital for medical evaluation.

A handgun and a shotgun were recovered from inside the home and the bodies were taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta, according to McCausland.

Neighbors expressed shock and sadness at the deaths.


Harrison York, who lives diagonally across the road from the Hale home, said William Hale was a good friend whom he had known for 25 years. Hale retired a year or two ago from Madison Paper and was a skilled carpenter and millwright who helped York work on renovating his house, York said. They had put in new wooden walls, a staircase and a room above the stairs and installed a 3-inch slab of pine on an old sewing machine in that room, according to York’s girlfriend, Barbara Jean Hiscock.

“He was a very good neighbor, a good friend,” York said while sitting on his porch Saturday afternoon.

He said he did not know Marie Lancaster-Hale that well, but he thought she worked as a driver for the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program.

York said he knew that William Hale had a lot on his mind. Hale’s black Labrador retriever, which he thought the world of, was old and was not going to live much longer; his mother was not well; and his father died about a month ago, according to York. Beyond that, Hale told York that his wife, Marie, did not like his mother and the fact that she lived with them, York said.

“I could see that he was upset,” York said. “It hasn’t been good. He was going to have to have his dog laid away. (The dog) was 14 or 15. He got to the point where he couldn’t even walk.”

A while ago William Hale had asked Hiscock, who lives with York, to spend some time with Hale’s mother, and she and Hiscock hit it off right away, as they discovered they both are from Rumford, Hiscock said.


Hiscock said she and York had visited Hale and his wife on Friday morning, taking over a walker and a bed tray for Faye Hale, as well as applesauce to put her pills in to make it easier for her to swallow them.

Hiscock recalled William Hale hugged her tightly when they left. She said that in retrospect, she should have realized something was wrong.

But another neighbor, Becky Eldridge, said no one could have predicted what was to happen – that no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.

Eldridge described William Hale and Marie Lancaster-Hale as nice people. Lancaster-Hale performed Eldridge and her husband’s wedding ceremony, she said.

“They had everything going for them. I’m just blown away,” Eldridge said. “He was such a nice man – incredibly talented. He could do anything, carpentry, he was a machinist, he restored cars.”

Hiscock led a tour of the York house where Harrison and William Hale did all the woodworking renovations. She said Hale confided some things to her and York on Friday morning, but she did not want to disclose what he said.


“It was real personal,” she said.

The Hale house is about 3 miles from downtown Norridgewock. York said William Hale had lived there more than 25 years and had no children, but his wife had a child from another marriage. York, who has lived in his house about 50 years, said William Hale was a man who could do anything and was the type of person who seemed to need to be constantly working on something.

“I’m going to miss him,” he said.


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