Maine man not criminally responsible for killing tree farmer

Posted at 12:24 PM, Feb 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-05 13:24:45-05

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A judge on Wednesday accepted the defense contention that a man accused of killing a Christmas tree farmer in a random attack was not criminally responsible for his actions because of mental illness.

Quinton Hanna, 24, of Freeport, fatally stabbed 82-year-old James Pearson in the front yard of his Scarborough home in December 2019. Another man, in Freeport, was stabbed, but survived the attack. Hanna also was charged with assaulting a woman in West Bath.

The director of the Maine State Forensic Service testified Hanna suffered from schizophrenia and was experiencing a break from reality.

Because the judge accepted his insanity defense, Hanna will be detained at a state psychiatric facility until he’s no longer deemed to be a danger to himself or to society.

The two-day crime spree occurred in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties.

Pearson’s wife was home when the attack happened and tried to aid her husband while family members called 911. She and her husband founded their tree farming business in 1969. Pearson died at a hospital.

Hanna was in a stolen vehicle when he was arrested in Brunswick and charged with multiple crimes including murder, attempted murder, unlawful sexual contact, criminal threatening and robbery.