Winthrop teen accused of murdering parents may be tried as an adult

During the wee hours of the night of Oct 31, 2016, Winthrop Maine Police received a concerning phone call from a seemingly jovial 17 year old. “My father woke up to her screams. I stabbed the fuck out of him,” the minor chortled to the 911 dispatcher, immediately identifying himself as Andrew C. Balcer. Within minutes, police arrived at the Pine Knoll home from which the call was placed where they found blood stained Balcer, two dead adults, and a stabbed dog. According to the police affidavit, Andrew Balcer told Winthrop Police Chief Ryan Frost, while being held on the night of the incident, that the red-brown splotches on his clothing were the blood of his parents. The two bodies found in the house were ultimately determined to belong to Andrew Balcer’s mother and father, Antonio and Alice Balcer.

Ever since that fateful Halloween morning, Maine state police have been trying to work out how to handle the case. The puncture wounds found on the dead bodies were consistent with Balcer’s story: he claimed over the 911 phone call that he had stabbed his mother in the back with a knife while hugging her, and attacked his father’s torso in the kitchen with the same weapon. Indeed, according to the police affidavit, Alice Balcer’s body was riddled with nine puncture wounds (including many on her back), while Antonio Balcer was stabbed thirteen times in the torso. Now, the Maine state court in Augusta must determine if Andrew Balcer will be charged as a juvenile or adult for the deaths of his parents, since he was a minor of 17 years when the crime was committed, but is now 18.  Hearings started this past Thursday on Oct. 26, and will continue for a few more days.

This decision will impact the way the case is handled immensely. Since it is currently being treated by police as a juvenile case, not much about the actual incident has been made public. So far, it is clear that Andrew Balcer has admitted to the crime of killing his parents. Andrew’s older brother, Christopher Balcer, 25, has come forward with his account of the night in an interview with the Kennebec Journal,  in which he revealed that Andrew was indeed (to the best of his knowledge) responsible for the death of his parents.

“It’s really hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t heard the sort of noise a dying person makes,”  said Christopher in the February interview with the Kennebec Journal. “It was just this kind of desperate wail, this scream. It was just very haunting.”

According to the interview, Christopher Balcer had been sleeping in his basement bedroom when he was woken by his parents’ screams at about 1:30 a.m. on that Halloween morning. After rushing upstairs to be greeted by the sight of his brother wielding a knife over the body of his dead father, Christopher retreated back downstairs, searching for safety. Andrew followed, repeatedly asking Christopher if he “wanted to die”. Christopher responded that he did not. Soon thereafter, Andrew allowed Christopher to leave the house.

“I had no idea this was coming,” Christopher said in the interview with the Kennebec Journal. “I don’t know what it was about our relationship up to that point that gave me a free pass, as far as the family had been concerned. I don’t know if how he felt about me was different from how he felt about the parents, but apparently it was.”

Nevertheless, Maine state authorities are still debating the manner under which the case should be handled. On Nov 1, 2016, only a day after the deaths of Alice and Antonio Balcer, the state filed a petition that Balcer should be tried as an adult, even though he was technically a minor when he allegedly committed the crimes. Under the current state law, juveniles may be tried as adults if the crime in question is excessively heinous, and if there is enough evidence corroborating the minor’s guilt. This means that Balcer could be tried as an adult and potentially could be subject to a life sentence without parole, which would not be a possible penalty in the state of Maine if he were tried as a minor. Balcer’s attorney Walter McKee, however, is currently fighting this possibility in Augusta. In an email interview with Central Maine, McKee expressed his sentiments about the case.

“There is no question that this was a terrible tragedy,” McKee said in the email interview with Central Maine. “What remains to be seen — and which will be the subject of the hearing — is just what happened that night and why it happened.”

The state has also requested that Balcer undergo a psychological examination, which the defense has granted. During the first court hearing on the Oct. 26th, WABI-5 reported that Maine’s chief forensic psychologist believed Andrew Balcer to be confused and distressed about his sexual identity after evaluating him in her office. It is unclear, however, if the defense will try to use this evidence for the actual case to support a plea of insanity, which could relieve him of the threat of a life sentence. Another member of the state, forensic service Debra Baeder, corroborated these findings, stating that Balcer directly told her he was struggling to figure out his gender identity.

Hearings to determine whether or not Winthrop teen Andrew Balcer will be tried as a juvenile or adult will continue through this week