Franklin Countys First News

Suspect in triple homicide had local connections to candidate Frary

FARMINGTON - A candidate in Maine's 2008 congressional race said an aide who helped during his campaign is the same man accused of killing three people in northern Maine on June 23.


Thayne Ormsby

In a written account posted below, John Frary of Farmington, said that during his campaign for Congress in 2008 he had three live-in aides, one of whom was Thayne Ormsby, 20, of Orient. Ormsby is charged with three counts of murder in the stabbing deaths of 55-year-old Jeffrey Ryan, Ryan's 10-year-old son Jesse, and 30-year-old Jason Dehahn at Ryan's mobile home in Amity.

Ormsby was arrested on Friday at the Dover, N.H. police station and is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday. Ormsby allegedly confessed to stabbing all three and taking Ryan's pickup truck, setting it on fire before leaving the state to stay with a friend in Dover.

Police say a fingerprint from a beer bottle and DNA collected from the kitchen counter at Ryan's home linked Ormsby to the slaying.

According to the affidavit filed on July 2 by Maine State Police Detective Joshua P. Haines, Ormsby told Maine State Police Detective Dale Keegan "he killed Jeffrey Ryan in the wood shed at the Jeff Ryan residence because Jeff Ryan is a drug dealer. He then killed Dehahn as he fled and 'drug his body to the brook,' then returned inside and 'knifed' the 10-year-old in a back bedroom."

In his account of his relationship with Ormsby, Frary said that when he first met Ormsby he was a homeless 18-year-old whom he took in, along with two other homeless men, to help out. In return the men helped with his campaign efforts. In 2008, Frary was the Republican challenger in Maine's Second Congressional District race against incumbent Democrat Michael Michaud.


John Frary

After the election, Ormsby continued to stay at Frary's home in Farmington, while the other two men left. At one point Ormsby told Frary he was interested in joining the Marine Corps which Frary supported, even driving him to the recruiter's office, but it was closed and nothing ever came of it. Frary took Ormsby to church where he was well liked. During the time he stayed with him, Frary said he never suspected anything out of the ordinary with Ormsby.

Ormsby will be held in Dover until an extradition hearing can be held. His first court appearance is set for tomorrow.

Editor's note: Below is John Frary's account of his relationship with Thayne Ormsby:

The Thayne Ormsby I knew

By John Frary
I've given shelter to a number of strays over the years, not all feline. Some had pretty exotic personalities. All the same, I was surprised to learn last week that an individual I've sheltered under my roof is charged by police with having butchered two men and a 10-year-old boy up in the County.

During my campaign for Congress in 2008 I acquired three “live-in aides,” all of whom qualified as homeless. Adam had been in a cop Prince George County, Maryland, until he left to escape chronic depression. Anyone who has watched “The Wire” on TV will understand this. He couldn’t watch the series because it was too reminiscent of his experience in uniform. He had taken a construction job in Baltimore, but found the promiscuous use of the “

N-word" by his red-neck colleagues intolerable. His mother, who was visiting me at the time, suggested he quit and come to Maine for the campaign. So he abandoned his apartment in inner-city Baltimore, turned his meager possessions over to a girl-friend, and found shelter in one of my spare bedrooms between August and November 2008.

Chris had been sleeping on the kitchen floor of his sister's apartment in Old Town when his father suggested that he might be interested in my campaign. He gave me a call. I had him checked out and then added him to my household. The lad was practically an anthropomorphic computer peripheral and spent most of his life in cyberspace, but when he was given a concrete assignment he performed brilliantly and was capable of working 10 hours straight.

Then there was Thayne Ormsby. Being an old guy, senile and confused, I can’t remember exactly how he came into the picture. He had been living with some people over in Industry until he had a falling out because he was way behind on his share of the rent. He had a home of sorts in Ellsworth, but it was not a happy one. He sometime spoke with disdain of his “two mommies.”

Their fondness for the bottle, their chaotic style of life, and their friends all seemed to disgust him. Yet when I visited their household, there seemed ties of genuine affection.

Anyway he qualified as fully homeless, no money, no job and no home. I provided room, board and a little pocket money. He, in return, performed his campaign duties willingly and skillfully — handing out literature, “introducing” the candidate, driving me around without incident or accident. He took orders readily, bore a certain amount of sarcastic correction calmly and got along with the other two "aides" without friction.

When the campaign ended, Adam moved to Kentucky to complete his college education; Chris moved home to Auburn to enroll in college and Thayne resumed a life without direction of purpose. He lingered on at my place, moved out, returned. I put him in my brother's study back in the woods, Joseph having settled permanently and year-round in the Philippines. He mostly stayed out from underfoot, rendered some useful services from time to time, and made plans. These plans were not essentially impractical but they took on the aspect of fantasy because he never acted on them.

One recurrent idea was joining the Marine Corps and eventually becoming an officer. Tired of his futile fantasizing I persuaded him one day to let me drive him to the Marine recruiting office in West Farmington. The office was closed. Afterwards, he came up with a number of excuses and objections to joining up. So I let it drop. A pity. The Marine Corps might have known how to give his life direction.

He was polite to the point of obsequiousness. Mostly did what he was told without objection. Got along well with my cats. I took him along to St. Stephen's Traditional Anglican Church. He even officiated as an acolyte on several occasions. Some women described him as downright “chivalrous.”

I detected no homicidal tendencies. Whenever he said something weird I attributed it to the natural goofiness of the adolescent male entering manhood. I have no therapeutic talent or ambition. Angst bores me. When you are rapidly advancing on age 70, a realistic view of your future features senile decay and death. So when he spoke despairingly of his present and future I felt bound to point out that his possibilities were far greater than mine. He was in good health, had an excellent physique and was absurdly good-looking. His life was not such a blank. He had acquired some useful skills, was far less ignorant than most high school graduates, read quite a lot and was far from stupid. If, at the end of any given year, he could look back and see that he knew more, understood more, and developed some new skill then he could say he was progressing even if he had no permanent job or residence.

In sum, I advised him to experiment with at least another 25 years of failures before giving up. Good advice. Useless advice.

We parted ways when I reprimanded him for overloading the washing machine for the second or third time. He brooded over this for some hours, then confronted me in my study, demanding to know whether I wanted him around. Silly question. Why would I want to have an 18-year-old around? Naturally I said no. He mistook my frankness for a decree of expulsion and departed huffily. His absence was no great loss, his presence had been no great burden, if only he had learned to not overload the damn washing machine. In truth, I found him less annoying than most adolescents.

Perhaps if I were more empathetic and emotionally warmer things would have taken a different turn, but that is empty speculation. My personality took shape years ago. Empathy, when it does come, always catches me by surprise.

The story coming out of Aroostook gets weirder and wilder. There’s talk of a drug connection. I can supply a little testimony on that. There was never any weedsmoke around my house. He didn't have the time, the money or the mobility to acquire narcotics while he was under my roof. If he developed any kind of addiction, it could only have been after we parted. The other details leave me completely baffled. The fact that I found Thayne so manageable makes me wonder if there wasn't some third party management involved. But I can only wonder.

My last contact was a Facebook.com exchange a couple of weeks ago when I learned that he was living in the village of Orient and corrected his spelling of Zeus. His other “Facebook friends” are departing in haste. Don't blame them, but I'll let the connection stand. I knew a mixed-up, immature adult named Thayne Ormsby. The alleged murderer Thayne Ormsby is a complete stranger.

If he is indeed guilty, I see no grounds for clemency. He didn’t “make a mistake” or “make a bad decision.”

He reportedly murdered two men in cold blood, then hunted a frightened ten-year-old down in his hiding place and slaughtered him. I've heard from our attorney general that his confession was cool and matter-of-fact. If remorse ever overtakes him then he will have to recognize that a life sentence is just.

Given the average American “life sentence" he now faces 25 years of constant direction. He will eat, sleep, exercise, consort with a bunch of low-lifes and fend off unwanted advances. The latter may involve mayhem of some kind. Suicide is a possibility. The only productive purposes in this empty existence is the making and re-making of Thayne Ormsby. He can read, think and, perhaps, write. I expect I'll send him some books.

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18 Responses »

  1. John-I've gained respect. Very well written!

  2. I would think you would be on your knees thanking the good Lord this young man 's mind hadn't deteriorated to the point it must have when he slaughtered 3 persons. The liquid may have been blood instead of washing machinne water.

  3. Thank you, John Frary, for this narrative of your kindness to a monstrously troubled young man.

  4. Professor Frary: T. Ormsby's life may prove to be a waste and a complete loss, except for the fact that he did manage to make one true friend, namely you. May G-d have mercy on his soul and may the G-d of us all bless you for your good heart. Peace and out. Patrick T. McInerney

  5. He needed a better friend than I, and he had two. Both worked harder to straighten him out and both had a clearer sense of the dark undercurrents. . I had little more to offer than shelter and cold logic. As to the former, he gave about as well as he got---worked hard on the campaign and did the heavy lifting around the house.

    I've spoken to some others who knew him since I wrote the account above. Two independently of each other pointed out some parallels with "The Talented Mr. Ripley." I had to think about that a bit before it made sense to me. Thayne once told me that he had his first experience of sleeping between the sheets at my house. Even discounting for self-dramatization, this fit in with other bits and pieces he disclosed about his upbringing.

    Yet he mingled easily with UMF students and educated, affluent middle-class people and displayed excellent manners. This ready adaptation to the people around him is the "Ripley" parallel. I begin to wonder if that cold, matter-of-fact confession Janet Mills told me about was not a new persona he was trying out.

    I have no knowledge at all about the crowd he got into up in the County. The confused story emerging from that place suggests some pretty sinister influences.

  6. this is so awful and i'm sorry it happened. you're a good man, john.

  7. SOME OF THE WORST SERIAL KILLERS WERE PERCEIVED AS BEING INTELLIGENT AND OUTGOING WHEN THE DESIRE TO KILL WAS NOT PRESENT. I BELIEVE MR. FRARY WAS HONEST IN HIS ATTEMPT TO PROVIDE THIS KID WITH A BETTER SENSE OF WORTH AND THE ABILITY TO LIVE IN A SOCIETY OTHER THAN WHAT HE HAD EXPERIENCED. THANK YOU FOR THAT AND I HOPE WE GET TO KNOW THE KID BETTER AS THE INVESTIGATION GOES ON.

  8. Professor Frary, you're a good man trying to help out this person.There are not many people that would take strays in to their own house as you have and try to better their lives and offer guidence. Your efforts are honorable in every sense of the word and you deserve the respect of all. The world would be a much better place with more people like you around sir.

  9. Do you realize how conservatives like Mr. Frary would characterize a liberal like me if I took young men in? Jeez!

  10. Tom Knight. I am a liberal also and I appreciate your statement (question). Mr Frary may invite whomever he wishes into his home but who advised him to jump on this terrible incident with such a letter? Have the other young men responded in any way?

  11. Tom. I dont think Prof. Frary gives a damn how people characterize him. Actions still speak louder than words. I imagine that if your intentions where as good as his was he would offer nothing but praise. Kind of arrogant of you to automatically assume the worst .....................

  12. Jeez, TOM KNIGHT, the occasion would never arise. Liberals like you don't take in strays, male or female, young or old.. You just talk about how you CARE and demand that the government do something about them.

    But if the occasion did arise, my reaction would be surprise. So now you know.

    If you read the BDN article you will find Fr. Lewis Glidden was the second person who sheltered Thayne Ormsby. Another conservative. The third person who gave help, with far more real sympathy and effort than I, does not choose to be interviewed, but I can assure you he is also conservative, although a bi of heathen.

    Is it perhaps relevant to mention that Paul LePage has an adopted son from Jamaica?

    But why bring politics into it? When the BDN reporter called me she said that several people had tipped her to the Frary-Ormsby connection. I asked her what she thought their motives were. She thought they might have been malicious, i.e., hoping to identify the GOP as the party of mayhem, murder and massacre.

    On the other side I received three messages from Republican activists urging me to delete the Facebook Friend entry, as if a "cover-up" should be my top priority.

    This political stuff is plain silly. I hope I've given you much better grounds for personal malice in other columns. You can do better if only you'd think a bit. You might even submit a column to the Bulldog and we can contend as adults.

  13. Has everyone read Thayne's FACEBOOK? It is a little weird but many people are living a less than "normal" life.

  14. i care 4 you---what a sweet tag,---although I kind of doubt she cares for me. The reason for writing the column is implicit in my previous posting. I anticipated the pea-brained malice confirmed by Jen Lyndes in our telephone interview and also by her own bizarre comment. I had every reason to expect that I would become par to the story an chose to tell my part myself. The only advice received was to distance myself, obviously an impossibility.

    The other two have not spoken. Adam is in Kentucky, address unknown to me, and probably has not heard of the murders. Chris greeted the news with surprise, but with his customary imperturbability. If the Jen Lyndes and the AP reporter who called last night had asked to speak with him, I would have cleared the request with him and then connected them.

    hozhed: exactly right and thanks.
    Does that question even have a point.

  15. My tag is my word. Thank you for your response. By the way, I am male. Males can care for others and I , a Liberal Democrat, have a cat who is my soulmate. I love as I am loved. God Bless

  16. Dear Mr. Frary,
    My husband and my self have taken in so many children and adults that needed a roof over their heads, food, even cloths, and a bed to sleep in... we have known this young man since birth but was distanced from him for probably 13 years. My children went to school with his mother. We are good people and it really hurts me to be called anything but. We only tried to help him out he needed a place to stay and we were sick and he was a big help to us for about 2 weeks. I can't tell you what happened that night as i will never know but the person that helped us out was not the same person who did this henious crime and then threaten to harm my family if we did not get him away from here. He vowed that all he wanted was to get away and find a job and start a life. His family did not call him at anytime he was in my home that we were aware of. He did call his father one time and asked for a job or some type of help and all he said his dad said was "I'll check back with you."
    We have been hurt emotionaly by alot of the strays we have taken in but nothing like this. I probably should not even write this to you as I am sure as I have read all the bad comments about my family on the different web pages. But we did not ever harm jeff, jesse,or jason. They had become friends of ours and we were getting along fine. Jeff and my family were very concerned with the pregnancy or my grand daughter. and we just wanted the best for her.
    All I can say is there has to be two different Thayne's to have this horrendous crime perpertrated. I sincerely hope if it possible that the victims can rest in peace. Thank you for listening... I really need all the moral support at this time and so does my husband and family.

  17. The exact same post was cut and pasted all over the internet this morning. Saying that Thayne had little or no contact with his parents while he was with her and Mr. Strout. Yet Mr. Strout called the local news people to tell that he just remembered that Thayne was collecting a drug debt for a father he had little or no contact with. I am totally confused,

  18. In the end, the truth will out. On any given night at all hours kids are roving the streets of nearly every town in Maine. They are desperately in need of care and in many instances will steal to assuage their hunger and the powerful intoxication. BUT: MURDER IS NEVER THE ANSWER.

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