Convicted murderer seeks money for being moved outside Maine

By Stephen Betts | Mar 12, 2018

Warren — A former Maine inmate serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of a family of three in 1981 continues to wage a legal battle in federal court over what he claimed was unfair treatment by the Maine State Prison.

The nearly two-year-old federal lawsuit has resulted in few victories for 69-year-old John Jay Condon.

Condon claims he was placed in a segregation unit at the prison in Warren before being transferred to a prison in Florida in 2014 in retaliation for complaining about being put into segregation.

Condon was convicted for three counts of murder as well as arson and theft. The convictions resulted from the 1981 murder of his sister Maureen Austin, brother-in-law James Austin and their 12-year-old son Douglas Austin at their home in Yarmouth. The couple were stabbed multiple times and the boy died from his throat being slit.

Former Maine State Prison Warden Rodney Bouffard responded -- in a February 2018 letter filed in court -- that Condon had spent much of the past three decades in the federal prison system. He was transferred back to the prison in Warren in 1992 at his request, according to Bouffard.

The former warden said Condon admitted to Maine State Prison officials, including Bouffard, that Condon had killed a fellow prisoner in a federal facility in Lewisburg, Penn. in 1993.

Bouffard said Condon repeatedly complained about the Maine prison and told the then warden that if he did not get transferred to a prison in the southern United States he would "do something" to get himself transferred.

In March 2014, a confidential informant told the staff that Condon planned to murder a unit manager at the prison.

Bouffard said Condon was then placed in the special management unit of the prison.

Condon claims in his lawsuit, filed in July 2016, that he was held in segregation for seven months before being transferred to a prison in Florida.

He said that his being transferred was in retaliation for challenging his segregation status. Condon also complained in the lawsuit that the state took $156 out of his inmate account for the cost of shipping his belongings to the Florida prison.

The court has refused to appoint an attorney for Condon at taxpayers' expense.

Part of the lawsuit has been thrown out but other claims remain. The state has filed a motion for summary judgment which means it is asking the court to side with the state as a matter of law with no disagreement on facts.

Condon is also seeking monetary damages in addition to being reimbursed for his moving expenses.

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