boston.com your connection to The Boston Globe

Suspect had three guns on bus

A 20-year-old Canadian man suspected in two killings of sex offenders in Maine had three loaded handguns when police surrounded the bus he was riding near South Station, MBTA Transit Police said today.

Deputy Chief John Martino said two guns were found on Stephen A. Marshall and the third, which Marshall used to kill himself, was found by his side Sunday night.

Marshall was being sought in connection with the Sunday shooting deaths of Joseph L. Gray, 57, of Milo, and William Elliott, 24, of Corinth, who were both listed on Maine's online registry of convicted sex offenders.

MBTA Transit Police were alerted that Marshall might be on a bus headed to South Station by Maine State Police after bullets were found in a Bangor bus terminal, Martino said. It is not clear where Marshall was ultimately headed, Martino said.

The fatal shootings prompted the state to disable its online sex offender registry and renewed the discussion over whether those registries make sex offenders into targets of violence.

It's unclear whether the accused shooter used Maine's online registry to target the men. But those registries have proven popular. Before it was taken offline, Maine's registry was the most visited page on the state's Web site, an officials said.

"We don't have a link, we don't have a connection, and we have really more questions than we have answers as to what sparked this violence," Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said Monday. "At this point, there is no known connection between the three men."

Marshall, who lived in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, had come to Houlton, Maine, for the first time to meet his father. He became a suspect when he was spotted leaving the scene of the second shooting in Corinth, about 25 miles from Milo, in his father's pickup truck.

Marshall also took three firearms from his father -- two handguns and a rifle, McCausland said. Police have yet to find the rifle.

Gray's name was posted on a state Web site because he had moved to Maine and had a Massachusetts conviction for sexual assault with a child under 14, McCausland said. Elliott's conviction was for having sex with a girl who was under the legal age, he said.

Maine State Police have since removed a listing of 2,200 sex offenders from the Web site as a precaution, McCausland said, and a decision will be made by Tuesday at the latest about when the information will again be available.

"It will go back on line, absolutely," McCausland said. "It's the most popular site on the state of Maine Web page."

Police cornered Marshall on a Vermont Bus Lines coach that he had boarded in Bangor, said David Procopio, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney. The bus was on a ramp leading onto Interstate 90, a short distance from South Station.

No one else on the bus was injured, Procopio said, but five passengers who were splattered with blood were taken to area hospitals to be examined.

A sex offender registry Web site in Washington state was cited in the deaths of two convicted child rapists last summer. Michael Anthony Mullen, 35, said he targeted the pair and posed as an FBI agent to gain entry to their home after finding them on the online Whatcom County, Wash., sex offender list.

Mullen pleaded guilty in March to two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to more than 44 years in prison. Whatcom County continues to list sexual offenders on the Internet.

All states have sex offender registries and almost all of them post the information on line, according to Blake Harrison of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Maine's Web site contained such information as the offender's name, address, date of birth, identifying characteristics and place of employment, as well as a photograph. Depending on the severity of the crime, the offender is required to register either for 10 years or for life.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES
 
Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives