Police: Maine man threatened, then killed tenants

AP News
Posted: Dec 31, 2012 5:25 PM
Police: Maine man threatened, then killed tenants

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A 74-year-old Maine man killed two teenage tenants inside their apartment after arguing with them about late rent, snow shoveling and parking, according to a police affidavit released Monday.

James Pak, of Biddeford, walked into the apartment attached to his home and told the tenants he was going to shoot them before following through on his threat, police wrote. A third tenant survived by playing dead and hiding behind a Christmas tree. Pak allegedly told police he spared the life of a 6-year-old boy who lived in the apartment but thought he killed three adults.

Pak didn't enter a plea during his first court appearance Monday in York County Superior Court, where he was ordered held without bail. He's charged with two counts of murder in the Saturday evening deaths of 19-year-old Derrick Thompson and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Alivia Welch.

Thompson and Welch lived in the apartment with Thompson's 44-year-old mother, Susan Johnson, and Johnson's young son.

Biddeford police had been at Pak's home minutes before the shootings. Thompson had called them to report that Pak was yelling and threatening him and banging on his door. Pak was arguing with his tenants about late rent, shoveling snow and cars in the driveway, Maine State Police Det. Corey Pike wrote in the affidavit.

Police left after Thompson told the officers he didn't fear Pak, only to have Johnson call 911 three minutes later reporting the shootings.

Following his arrest at about 10 p.m. Saturday, Pak told detectives he thought he had killed three people.

"Pak said he walked into the apartment and told them he was going to shoot them," the affidavit reads. "Pak said he shot Johnson first, then he shot Thompson and then Welch. Pak said he spared the boy's life."

Detectives interviewed Johnson at Maine Medical Center, where she was treated for non-life-threatening wounds in her back and arm.

She told them that she tried to hide behind a Christmas tree and play dead after Pak shot her. She described how Pak then shot her son before shooting twice at Welch as she screamed, "Don't shoot, stop," the court document says.

Pak then retreated to the main part of the house where he lived and surrendered three hours later after talking with a police negotiating team.

Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre told The Portland Press Herald that one of his officers had to use a stun gun on Pak because the suspect refused to take his hands out of his pockets when he exited the house.

Pak had alcohol on his breath and told police he was suicidal and wanted to die, the affidavit reads.

Pak is a stone mason and the owner of Korean Yankee Landscape in Biddeford, according to his business website. It describes him as a Korean War orphan who came to the United States from Seoul, Korea. He grew up in Vermont and worked in the marble quarries.

He started his masonry and landscaping business in 1964, according to the website, and sold it in 2006, when he and his wife, Armit, moved to Biddeford and opened another business.

Thompson was an auto detailer and graduated from Biddeford High School, and Welch worked at a local coffee shop and graduated from Thornton Academy in the neighboring town of Saco, according to their Facebook profiles and a list of Thornton Academy graduates.