December 8, 2013

Family of slain West Gardiner woman worries killer will be released

When Michael M. Boucher Sr. was convicted in 1991 of murdering 18-year-old Debra Dill, her family thought he would be in a maximum security prison for the rest of his life. But state officials will consider his release in May.

By Craig Crosby ccrosby@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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Caught: Michael Boucher, right, is escorted by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Testerman in this file photo from July 9, 1991.

Kennebec Journal file photo

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LIFE SENTENCE: West Gardiner resident Vicki Dill is outraged that the man who is serving a life sentence for murdering her sister, Debra, has been transferred to a minimum-security facility and is performing supervised work projects in the community. Michael Boucher was convicted in 1991 for beating Debra Dill, 18, to death in 1973 with a hammer in Litchfield.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

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Related Documents

Boucher parole hearing transcript

Testimony at Boucher’s trial depicted a grisly murder that would go unsolved for years. Blood was smeared on the side of Dill’s car, which was about a quarter of mile from Route 126, according to a 1991 report in the Lewiston Sun Journal. Dill’s body was found face up. Her brassiere had been ripped off and was found beside her body. She was wearing a sweater, underpants, socks and blue suede shoes. One leg was “cocked up,” with a stick under it, according to the Sun Journal report.

Dr. Nelson Blackburn, who did the autopsy, testified at Boucher’s trial that Dill was strangled by hand and suffered a “brutal beating” that was more than can be done with a fist, according to the Sun Journal report. There were three coinlike depressions on the side of Dill’s skull that probably had been delivered with a hammer. Dill had cuts and scrapes on her hands, face, chest, back, torso and a knee.

Abbott said there were myriad suspects early on. Boucher’s name never came up specifically, but investigators were aware that Lewiston police had investigated the case of the Lewiston woman who escaped after her car had been bumped. Abbott said investigators never had enough information on Boucher to question him effectively.

“We didn’t know him by name, but we knew Lewiston PD had a guy who did that,” Abbott said. “I must have investigated about 100 guys that could have done the murder, but I disproved each and every one of them.”

Abbott said Boucher’s name came to the forefront around 1988 when he threatened to do to his wife “the same to her as the Dill girl.” His wife called police and eventually testified against him at his trial. Steve Drake, a detective with the Maine State Police who had been assigned the cold case, began putting the pieces together.

Boucher was in a Connecticut prison when he came to the attention of police investigating Dill’s murder. Abbott said Boucher was serving a sentence for beating a woman there.

“He thought she was going to die,” Abbott said. “She ended up testifying against him.”

Police found Dill’s belongings when they searched Boucher’s property.

“We had him dead to rights,” Abbott said. “There’s no doubt in my mind he’s the boy who did it. He ended up with items out of her car that only the murderer could have taken.”

Abbott can only speculate why Boucher would have kept the belongings, and potential evidence, for nearly 20 years.

“Some of those guys are trophy guys,” he said. “He was not a nice person whatsoever. This wasn’t a crime of passion or a spur of the moment. He followed them, picked them out and went for them. He was a predator.”

Abbott said he thinks Boucher hoped to assault Dill sexually, but investigators were unable to determine whether he was able to carry out that assault.

“She put up an awful fight,” Abbott said. “He had to beat her with his hammer to put her down.”

Parole hearing expedited

Boucher was convicted by a Kennebec County Superior Court jury and in July 1991 sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole.

Vicki Dill, who has attended every parole hearing to argue for Boucher’s continued imprisonment, said Boucher usually has a parole hearing every five years; but his next hearing, scheduled for May, is two years early. Based on his prison reassignment, his work in the community and the fact that they have speeded up the date of Boucher’s parole hearing, the Dill family fears Boucher is being groomed for release.

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