BANGOR – Three decades ago, a Passamaquoddy Indian who served in the military and returned home to deliver people’s mail was killed in what the local paper dubbed the “sidewalk slaying.”
The 1988 shooting death of Peter Bassett remains as one of Bangor’s unsolved homicides.
Judy’s owner Del Merritt was behind the bar the night 39-year-old Bassett was shot and killed on Essex Street. He said Tuesday that Bassett never even made it into the bar.
“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,” Lt. Brent Beaulieu said last year. “As a result of the confrontation, Mr. Bassett was deceased.”
Bassett, who was still wearing his U.S. Postal Service uniform, was shot in the head late on Aug. 13, 1988.
He was a Passamaquoddy Indian who served with the U.S. Marines in Vietnam. Bassett also was a member of the Maine Army National Guard at the time of his death. He was married and had four young children. His oldest son shares his name.
Bassett got off work at about 8 p.m. and a couple hours later was seen drinking at the now-closed Pat’s Cafe on State Street. Witnesses there reported that he was arguing with a man from Hermon, just before the two left to go next door to Judy’s.
They encountered another man outside, police detectives determined.
“The investigation, obviously, continued and identified another individual who may have also been involved in the incident,” Beaulieu said.
Beaulieu said both men remain as suspects, even though the Hermon man is now deceased.
The statute of limitations on murder cases is endless so they never officially close. The other two unsolved homicides in Bangor include the death of eight-month-old Aisha Dickson on Jan. 6, 1995 and 54-year-old Effie MacDonald on March 18, 1965.