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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- State corrections officials are investigating whether any mistakes were made supervising a man with a violent past who is now accused of murdering a Colby College student.
Corrections Commissioner Martin Magnusson said Wednesday that his department is conducting "a very thorough review" of how it supervised Edward J. Hackett, a 47-year-old who was on parole for a vicious kidnapping in Utah 11 years ago.
Hackett was released from a Utah state prison this spring and moved to Vassalboro in March to be with his parents. Prosecutors expect to formally charge him as soon as Thursday with murder in the death of Dawn Rossignol, 21, of Medway.
Police accuse of Hackett of abducting Rossignol from a Colby College parking lot Sept. 16 and forcing her to go to a gravel road in Oakland about a mile from campus, where her body was found the following day near a stream.
On Wednesday, investigators searched the home of Hackett's parents' home, placing items in bags and taking photographs at the Route 32 residence. State police said the hard investigatory work began after the suspect's arrest.
Spokesman Stephen McCausland of the state Department of Public Safety would not discuss what investigators looked for in the home, and had no information about why troopers were pulling cars over in the vicinity Wednesday morning.
State police were alerted to Hackett as a possible suspect after the Department of Corrections reviewed its list of parolees. But the murder has also raised questions about how the state monitors convicts who are on probation and parole.
Magnusson said the review of the Hackett case is ongoing, but preliminary findings suggest that "every policy was being followed very well" before Rossignol was killed.
Hackett came to Maine from Utah under a 50-state compact that allows parolees and probationers to move from state to state when they are released from prison. The compact allows Maine or any other state to accept or reject responsibility for supervising someone like Hackett.
The Maine Department of Corrections agreed to supervise Hackett, but Magnusson said Utah could have sent Hackett to Maine even if state officials here had refused. If that had happened, Maine probation officers could not have monitored Hackett's movements and activities because the state would not have had jurisdiction over him.
Magnusson said Maine is supervising 343 parolees and probationers who have moved here under terms of the compact; Maine has sent 268 people to live in other states under the same program.
Magnusson said a probation officer was supervising Hackett "very closely" and had his last face-to-face meeting with him "very recently." Magnusson said the officer met with Hackett three or four times a month after Hackett first arrived in Maine, but he refused to say when the last meeting took place.
The probation officer "was meeting every requirement of the policy" for providing supervision, Magnusson said. He added that the officer has 191 people in his caseload, which is more than double the national average of 84.
William Stokes, the head of the Attorney General's criminal division, said prosecutors expect to charge Hackett on Thursday, and that they will ask a judge to impound documents that may provide information on the case. Stokes said premature release of details of the crime could taint the investigation and make it harder for Hackett to get a fair trial.
Hackett was apparently released on parole at least twice in Utah, most garage, forcing her to drive to another location and then raping her.
Hackett's criminal career began early on. Some of his earliest criminal records are from South Carolina where he was convicted of littering and disorderly conduct in 1977. Since then he has been charged with passing fraudulent checks, stealing cars, and repeatedly escaping from Utah correctional facilities.
A record from the Connecticut Department of Public Safety shows Hackett was charged with kidnapping when he was 20, though he eventually pleaded to unlawful restraint and was sentenced to six months.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)