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Man to be arraigned for murder of Scarborough, Maine, Christmas tree farm owner

Quinton Hanna, 22, of Freeport, Maine, has been charged with the murder of Jim Pearson.
Quinton Hanna, 22, of Freeport, Maine, has been charged with the murder of Jim Pearson.Scarborough Police Department

The man charged with the fatal stabbing of an 82-year-old Christmas tree farm owner in Scarborough, Maine is due in court Thursday morning.

Quinton Hanna, 22, of Freeport, Maine, is scheduled to make his initial appearance in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland at 9:30 a.m., according to Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the Maine State Police.

Hanna is accused of attacking James “Jim” Pearson in his front yard on Beech Ridge Road in Scarborough around 8:15 a.m. Sunday, State Police said in a statement.

Pearson was pronounced dead at Maine Medical Center in Portland, State Police said.

Hanna was taken into custody around noon Sunday after he was seen driving a stolen SUV in Brunswick, Maine. The vehicle had been stolen from a resident of West Bath about an hour earlier, according to State Police.

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Hanna was also charged with sexually assaulting a woman in West Bath Sunday morning and is being investigated for the stabbing of a man in Freeport the previous night, police said.

Maine State Police said it did not appear that Hanna knew the victims.

Meanwhile, the town of Scarborough continues to mourn the loss of Pearson.

Scarborough Police Chief Robbie Moulton offered his condolences and paid tribute to Pearson in a heartfelt message that he shared at a press conference Tuesday and on the Scarborough Police Department’s Facebook page.

“Jim was a well-known figure in town," Moulton said in the Facebook post. "He was a teacher for many years in Gorham, he and his wife owned a long time business here in Scarborough, and he had even served as a Reserve Police Officer in the early days of our department. It shouldn’t be any surprise that his children chose to serve their community and nation as well. His son Robert is a twenty year veteran of the United States Navy, retiring as a Commander. His daughter Sergeant Mary Pearson is one of our own as a thirty two year veteran of the Police Department. This has been a tragic loss to our community, our public safety family, and especially to the Pearson family.”

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Moulton also acknowledged the fear that rippled through the town after the violent attack.

“I want the public to know that I fully recognize that this has been a very difficult and scary situation,” he said in the Facebook post. “Investigators had information about this suspect and the fact that he was in custody hours in to the investigation on late Sunday morning. Unfortunately we were unable to share that information with the general public and to some extent even members of our own department. As difficult as that was, it was necessary in order to bring this case to a successful conclusion and one that would hold up in court. Even though we were not able to share some information, please know that the safety and security of our community was and always will be of the utmost importance.”

“To that end, I would like to express our appreciation to the entire community of Scarborough for their trust, patience, and support during this senseless and tragic event. I would also ask for your continued support and understanding as Scarborough Police, along with the Maine State Police and Attorney General’s Office continues to gather evidence and information relative to this case.”

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Moulton also thanked the Bath, Brunswick, and Freeport Police Departments, the Maine State Police, and the Maine Attorney General’s office “for their countless hours of hard work and expertise,” as well as local businesses and individuals who “have come forward with food and kindness for our folks as they worked through this difficult time."

Moulton also thanked the members of the Scarborough Police Department.

“This would have been a very difficult situation under any circumstances, but the fact that it involved the family of one of our own made your jobs even more difficult,” he said in the Facebook post. “I am so proud of the way each of you stepped up, worked together, and did whatever was necessary to get the job done and ease the load on others. The long hours that you have put in are appreciated. The acts of kindness that you have shown to Mary’s family as well as to each other is heartwarming to say the least. I couldn’t be more proud of each of you. On Sunday afternoon, I made a promise to Mary that we would not rest until we had this resolved. I was so proud to be able to meet with Mary and her family and let them know that you kept the promise that I made on your behalf.”



Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.