His death remains as one of Bangor's three unsolved homicides.
Local mailman Peter Bassett was still wearing his uniform when he was shot in the head late on Aug. 13, 1988.
“Mr. Bassett was involved in a confrontation with at least one other individual outside of Judy's tavern, which is located on State Street in Bangor,” Bangor police Detective Sgt. Brent Beaulieu said Monday. “As a result of the confrontation, Mr. Bassett was deceased.”
Bassett was married and had four young children. He also was a Passamaquoddy Indian who served in Vietnam and was a member of the Maine Army National Guard at the time of his death.
“He was a nice guy,” said Stephen Farnum of Bangor, who went to John Bapst Memorial High School with Bassett. “He was a Marine and a good friend of mine.”
Bassett got off work at about 8 p.m. and a couple hours later was seen drinking at the now-closed Pat's Cafe, where witnesses reported him arguing with Terry Thompson from Hermon, just before they went next door to Judy's.
“Early on in the investigation Mr. Thompson was identified as a suspect and was ultimately charged with Mr. Bassett's death,” Beaulieu said. “The investigation, obviously, continued and identified another individual who may have also been involved in the incident, and due to this development the extent of Mr. Thompson's involvement was brought into question and later the charges were dropped.”
“Mr. Thompson is now deceased,” the detective added. “He remains a person of interest in this matter, as does the other individual that was identified as possibly being involved.”
Bassett's death is a cold case, one of three that remain unsolved after decades of detective work.
The statute of limitations on murder cases is endless so they never officially close. The other two unsolved homicides include the deaths of eight-month-old Aisha Dickson on Jan. 6, 1995 and Effie Macdonald, 54, on March 18, 1965.
While a cold case, the Bassett investigation remains active and is currently assigned to Detective Josh Kuhn.
Farnum said he doesn't believe the homicide will ever be solved.
“They knew who did it but they can't prove it,” he said. “It's one thing finding out who did it, and it's another thing to prove it.”
Bassett was buried with military honors at the Pleasant Point Cemetery in Perry.