Marcel Lagrange Jr., bottom right, appears via Zoom at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland on Wednesday. Lagrange is charged with two counts of murder in the death of Brittney Cockrell and Michael Hayter in Westbrook on Monday.  Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

A South Portland man accused of fatally shooting two Westbrook residents in front of their children Monday night told juvenile corrections staff in 2018 that he wanted to go on a shooting spree and kill people that he knew were innocent, court records show.

“I just can’t wait to see the look on their faces when they see a bunch of (expletive) kids die and a bunch of other innocent people,” Marcel Lagrange Jr. told a staffer at Long Creek Youth Correctional Center after he was fired from his job at Goodwill for stealing, according to court records. “People that weren’t even involved will get killed.”

Lagrange, 24, made his first appearance in Cumberland County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon, two days after he allegedly killed Brittney Cockrell, 37, and Michael Hayter, 41, in a parking lot at the intersection of Main Street and Bridge Street in Westbrook. He appeared remotely over Zoom and was not required to enter a plea.

He faces two counts of intentional or knowing murder, each of which carries a penalty of 25 years to life in prison.

Police don’t believe Lagrange knew the victims or their 11-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter, who were in the backseat of a car when their parents were shot in the parking lot. Lagrange allegedly assaulted another man as he attempted to flee the scene before several bystanders tackled and disarmed him.

Cockrell and Hayter’s family members in Texas are grieving over what they said appears to be a random act of violence.


Hayter and Cockrell moved to Westbrook about six months ago from their home in Texas, Cockrell’s sister, Laura Faye McKinney, said Wednesday night.

“Mike moved to Maine for work,” McKinney said in a telephone interview from her home in Texas. “Westbrook seemed like a nice place to live. They thought the area would be safe for their kids.”

She said Hayter worked at a local car dealership. WGME-TV reported that he worked in the finance department at Rowe Ford in Westbrook. McKinney said family members are heading to Maine to take custody of the couple’s children.

“We are going to get the children. They will be well taken care of in Texas,” she said.

Cockrell’s former mother-in-law, Donna Cockrell of La Porte, Texas, said the couple’s family “was devastated by the news of their deaths.”

“Brittney was a beautiful lady. She did not deserve this. They were just trying to live their life,” Cockrell said. “I loved Brittney. We had a good relationship.”



Five years of court records detail Lagrange’s pattern of mental health crises and violent threats since he aged out of the juvenile justice system. Most juvenile criminal records are inaccessible to the public under Maine law, but Lagrange’s stint at Long Creek suggests his trouble with the law began when he was a minor.

Marcel Lagrange Jr. at Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland on Wednesday. Zoom screenshot

During Lagrange’s brief appearance in court Wednesday, prosecutors said Lagrange’s attorneys are seeking another mental health evaluation. Records show that several judges have ordered evaluations during Lagrange’s involvement with the court system.

When Judge MaryGay Kennedy asked him for his birthday Wednesday, Lagrange struggled to remember it.

Lagrange’s attorney, Tina Nadeau did not immediately respond to requests to discuss Lagrange’s mental health and the charges against him. An automatic email response said Nadeau is out of the office this week.

A spokesperson for the Maine Office of the Attorney General, which is prosecuting the case, declined to discuss it.


Several records from October 2018, when Lagrange was still at Long Creek, detail unstable and threatening behavior. According to several court records, he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

On Oct. 2, 2018, he was fired from his job as a warehouse worker at Goodwill after he allegedly stole several items and hid them in the ceiling of an employee bathroom. The news of his firing, which Lagrange’s supervisor delivered over the phone out of fear that he would react badly, did not immediately set Lagrange off, according to a report from corrections officer Joe Fagone.

But when Long Creek staff interrupted a cartoon Lagrange was watching on TV, he refused to return to his room and began making threats against his co-workers at Goodwill, saying he wanted revenge. According to the report, he threatened to stab two other residents of Long Creek before he walked up to a fire alarm and punched it twice. When staff prepared to restrain him, Lagrange climbed inside a blue laundry bin and refused to leave for several minutes.

“I felt Lagrange was serious about his threat to his co-workers,” Fagone said in his report.

Lagrange eventually pleaded guilty to terrorizing. Barely a week after his threats, Lagrange again clashed with Long Creek staff over the television. According to another report from Fagone, Lagrange threatened to kill himself after he was told he could not watch TV during school hours. When staff tried to physically escort him to his room, he resisted and bit a staff member. After finally being wrestled into his room, Lagrange tried to set off the building’s sprinkler system and warned a staff member “to watch his back because he was going to hurt him.”

Corrections officers and the district attorney’s office agreed to transfer Lagrange to Cumberland County Jail to be charged with assaulting an officer and violation of conditional release. On his way there, Lagrange kicked and shattered the van’s window. They tacked on a criminal mischief charge.



Twice in 2020, Lagrange, now out of jail, had to move because the people he was living with were afraid of him.

He was staying with his grandmother that September when they got into an argument about his marijuana use, according to a South Portland police report. After Gloria Ouellette threatened to turn her grandson over to the police, he grabbed her arm and the steering wheel of the car she was driving before pulling the key out of the ignition.

When police arrived, she “repeatedly stated that she feared Marcel and did not want him in the residence any longer,” the report states. She spent the night in a hotel, while Lagrange refused to leave the house. According to another police report, officers watched him through a window as he paced around inside, holding a black handgun.

Lagrange was charged with domestic violence assault – but the district attorney’s office later dropped that charge after he agreed to plead guilty to several other charges stemming from another confrontation just three months later.

He was living in a garage attached to the Westbrook home of Yugu Yobo, who was paid by the state to serve as Lagrange’s part-time caretaker. According to a police report, the two men had frequently bickered during the month Lagrange lived there.


On Dec. 27, the two men argued about whether soap or a shirt was responsible for Lagrange’s dry skin. Lagrange grew frustrated and began throwing items around his room before he barricaded the door and threatened to burn the house down. He used a lighter and a flammable deodorant in an attempt to light the door to his room on fire.

When police arrived, Lagrange “immediately” asked officers to shoot him, the report states. When police said they were not going to, Lagrange told them that “he would do something so that we would have to arrest him,” and that “his life was over.”

Police and Yobo agreed that Lagrange’s behavior was likely linked to his mental health issues. According to the report, he had likely not taken his medication for bipolar disorder for three days. But after Lagrange continued to threaten to hurt himself, Yobo and hospital staff, police opted against bringing him to the hospital for treatment and instead took him to Cumberland County Jail, where he was charged with arson, assault and criminal threatening.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this story.

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