The man accused of killing his parents and another couple at their Bowdoin home in April did not appear in court Wednesday due to a scheduling change.

Joseph Eaton enters the West Bath District Court after his arrest on April 20. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Joseph Eaton, 34, was scheduled to be arraigned on charges tied to the deadly shootings and would have had to enter a plea.

According to the Office of the Maine Attorney General, the hearing was delayed so that Eaton’s two cases can be merged: one in Sagadahoc County on 16 charges, including four counts of murder, related to the shootings in Bowdoin on April 17, and the other case in Cumberland County on 11 charges stemming from Eaton’s alleged shooting spree on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth the following day.

Police say he admitted to shooting his parents David and Cynthia Eaton and their friends Robert and Patti Eger shortly after he surrendered to officers on April 18. During a month-long series of interviews with the Press Herald, Joseph Eaton again confessed to the Bowdoin and highway shootings, which wounded Sean Halsey, 51, of Bowdoinham, and his children Justin Halsey, 29, and Paige Halsey, 26.

Eaton, who has a long history of violence and mental health issues, told the Press Herald he was not in control of his actions when he shot his parents and is considering pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

No new court date had been set for Eaton’s arraignment as of Wednesday.

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