ELLSWORTH — Police have charged 47-year-old Alice Allen, mother of Michael Allen, with hindering apprehension or prosecution for reportedly disposing of firearms considered to be evidence in the case against her son.
Michael Allen, 19, is a student at Ellsworth High School who was charged with felony terrorizing following an alleged school shooting threat made in an online gaming forum in mid-February.
Police Chief Glenn Moshier said officers executed a search warrant at the Allen residence “looking for firearms,” but were unable to locate any guns.
“Initially she said she had given them to her boyfriend,” said Moshier, “and later on she said she had sold them to him.”
Police contacted the man, who told them he had sold “all but one, a 9-millimeter handgun,” that Allen later told police she intended to keep, Moshier said. Officers seized ammunition for a 9-millimeter gun from the Allen residence.
Moshier said police charged Allen after consulting with the District Attorney’s Office.
The decision to charge Allen was partly due to what Moshier called “vagueness and discrepancies” in her story. He added that “the boyfriend wouldn’t say who he sold them [the guns] to.” Moshier said his officers did not have sufficient evidence to execute a search warrant of the man’s house.
In a statement, Attorney Steve Juskewitch, who is representing the younger Allen, wrote “based upon credible and verifiable information that the guns in the house were secured and that Michael had not used or had access to them for several years, the police did not ask for the guns when they arrested him.”
Juskewitch went on to write that “at the time, neither the police or prosecutors thought that guns were part of the prosecution and the evidence supported that. The evidence of non access and non use hasn’t changed.”
Juskewitch added that the District Attorney is charging Alice Allen “on the theory that she must have known that someday they would come looking for the guns.”
Moshier said the “real issue” is the loose regulation of private firearm sales in Maine that makes it difficult for police to track a gun once it is sold.
“There are no requirements for a paper trail for a private sale of firearms in Maine,” Moshier said. “We have no way to track it and no way to see if a sale even took place.”
Maine law does not require background checks for private gun sales, and Mainers rejected expansion of background checks on private gun sales and transfers in a vote in 2016.
Officers seized a computer and several other electronic items from the residence along with journals and papers. Moshier said the room contained “nothing of clear evidentiary value,” and no “plans for executing a shooting.”
Police did find proof of gun ownership and evidence that Michael Allen had taken a hunter safety course.
Moshier noted that the room of the 19-year-old had been “thoroughly cleaned” before police arrived.
“In hindsight we probably should have executed the search warrant earlier,” Moshier said.
Alice Allen is due to appear in court on April 17.