Hackett pleads innocent to charges in kidnap-murder

14 years ago Comments Off on Hackett pleads innocent to charges in kidnap-murder

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ A parolee from Utah made obscene gestures at news photographers Tuesday as he pleaded innocent to all charges in the kidnap-slaying of a Colby College student.

Edward J. Hackett showed his disdain for the photographers by repeatedly gesturing on his way into court, throughout the arraignment and as he was led back to a police cruiser to return to the jail.

His lawyer, Pamela Ames, said Hackett was upset by what he viewed as inaccuracies in some news accounts as well as the presence of cameras. She, too, felt the cameras were intrusive.

The judge apparently did not intervene since the gestures were directed at the news media, not at court officials, she said.

Hackett, 47, was arraigned in Kennebec County Superior Court on charges of murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, unlawful sexual contact and robbery and theft with a weapon. No trial date has been set.

He’s accused of abducting Dawn Rossignol of Medway from the campus and then assaulting and killing her in a neighboring town.

The victim, who was 21, was last seen on the morning of Sept. 16. Her body was found the next day in Oakland, less than a mile from campus.

After his arrest, Hackett confessed to a newspaper reporter, saying Rossignol happened to be “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

While accepting responsibility for Rossignol’s killing, Hackett said he was too dangerous to have been released by the Utah parole board.

Hackett had no explanation for his actions other than that he wanted to hurt someone because he had been hurt in his life.

Hackett was released in March from a Utah prison, where he had served for abducting a woman at knifepoint.

Gov. John Baldacci ordered a review of the state’s handling of Hackett’s parole. The state’s review of the Hackett case concluded that his supervision while in Maine exceeded state guidelines.

No amount of oversight short of prison could guarantee public safety, corrections officials said.

As part of the review, several recommendations were made, including one for the state to explore whether to identify former convicts charged with a sex offense but convicted of different crimes.

Hackett was originally charged with aggravated sexual assault in Utah, but he pleaded guilty to kidnapping. Therefore, he was not required to register as a sex offender when he moved to Maine.