Aspen Nouhan saw the threats and called the police.

“Multiple mf will die because of u,” Marcel Lagrange wrote in a Facebook message Monday afternoon just hours after Nouhan told him their brief friendship was over.

“I don’t let people go,” Lagrange said in a post.

Marcel Lagrange Jr., 24. Courtesy Cumberland County Jail

Police agreed it was threatening and set off in search of Lagrange, 24, Nouhan said. But it was too late. Police say Lagrange shot and killed a Westbrook couple in front of their two children in a parking lot on Main Street less than three hours later.

Authorities say he did not know Brittney Cockrell, 37, or Michael Hayter, 41, who had recently moved to Maine from Texas.

The seemingly random act of violence has raised questions about whether Lagrange, who has a long history of mental health crises and violent threats, was getting the support he needed – and enough oversight to keep the community safe. A police affidavit that could reveal more details about what happened Monday night has been sealed, the Office of the Maine Attorney General said.


For years, Lagrange has had access to a case worker, an assisted housing program and nonprofit support groups like Maine Inside Out, said Joseph Jackson, the organization’s director of leadership development. But Jackson said Lagrange’s supporters struggled to get through to him, especially after extended time in isolation exacerbated his antisocial tendencies.

“There were considerable resources to try to help him,” he said, “We didn’t have enough.”


Inside Out supports teens in the juvenile justice system through art, peer-to-peer support groups and other resources. Lagrange has sometimes shared his poetry, writing and music since he first connected with the group while at the Long Creek Youth Development Center four or five years ago.

In a song titled “My Bag,” which Inside Out posted online just days before the shooting, Lagrange raps about having trust issues and trying to improve his mindset.

“Thoughts of being abandoned still haunt me,” he says on the track. “I don’t feel free. I feel trapped.”


Jackson described Lagrange as a young man who was “really struggling” for years. His lack of education and his criminal record, which includes assault, criminal threatening and terrorizing convictions, meant that he was not just unemployed but essentially unemployable, Jackson said.

Court records suggest his volatility and violence contributed to an unstable housing situation. Twice in the span of four months in 2020 he was ordered to leave the home he was staying in because he assaulted and threatened the owner. In September, he assaulted his grandmother, Gloria Ouellette, while she was driving a car during an argument about his marijuana use, according to court records.

In December, he was living with a Yugu Yobo, a caretaker assigned and paid by the state, when the men got into a fight about what was causing a rash on Lagrange’s skin. According to court records, Lagrange attempted to set the home on fire, then asked responding officers to shoot him.

“If it wasn’t for God’s sake he would have burned down my house when my family was inside,” Yobo said on Thursday. He said his children cried after seeing the shootings on the news and recognizing Lagrange. “It’s scary both to me and my whole family to see what he did.”

Lagrange has bipolar disorder and was not taking medication during some of his crimes, according to court records. He told Nouhan that he also has autism.

Yobo said he’s still frustrated that the state assigned him to care for a Lagrange without warning him that he was violent.


About a year ago, Lagrange found a program in West Paris that provided him housing and several support services, Jackson said. But he felt isolated in the small community and grew depressed.

He moved back with his grandparents in South Portland shortly before his arrest, Nouhan said.

Ouellette refused to discuss her grandson when a reporter visited the home Thursday.


Nouhan recently connected with Lagrange on social media, where he frequently posted artwork depicting the grim reaper and photos of himself holding a gun.

Online, he came across as a “lonely, damaged person,” someone who needed friends, Nouhan said. But when they met in person for the first time just four days before the shooting, he seemed different – and dangerous.


He showed Nouhan his gun and said he heard voices when no one else was around. Nouhan said Lagrange was totally emotionless and described himself as “paranoid and waiting to pounce on people who make him upset.”

On Monday, Nouhan asked Lagrange to stay away. Soon after, the threats came in – first as Facebook posts that seemed to describe Nouhan, then as direct messages.

“Friend or not I will find u,” Lagrange wrote, according to screenshots Nouhan shared with a reporter. “Stay safe because nobody leaves me. It’s a death wish.”

Nouhan called Portland police, who took a report and said they would search for Lagrange. The department refused to share details of the report.

It took two days for officers to get back in touch with Nouhan – this time as part of a homicide investigation.

On Wednesday, Cockrell’s sister said that the couple had moved to Westbrook about six months ago from Texas. She declined to speak more about the couple on Thursday.

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