An Androscoggin County man pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Lewiston District Court to two counts of murder in the deaths of a Turner couple earlier this year.

Patrick Maher, 24, of Turner is accused of fatally stabbing Troy Varney, 52, and his wife Dulsie Varney, 48, in their home on Knight Farm Road in the early morning hours of Feb. 12.

Superior Court Justice Valerie Stanfill ordered that Maher continue to be held without bail at the Androscoggin County Jail. The judge previously ordered that he undergo psychological evaluations to determine if he is competent to stand trial and what his mental state was at the time of the slayings.

Deputies with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department responded to a 911 call about 1:32 a.m. on Feb. 12 for a report of a home invasion, the Maine State Police said at the time.

When deputies arrived they found a man and woman who had both been injured, according to the court affidavit. The Varneys later died at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Maher, who lived in an apartment the Varney’s owned, was found in the house covered in blood

on the floor next to Troy Varney, according to the court affidavit. He allegedly entered the home by breaking a living room window.

Troy Varney owned and operated T.W. Varney Excavation in Turner and Dulsie Varney worked as a nursing instructor for Lewiston Regional Technical Center, according to the couple’s joint obituary.

Autopsies determined that the husband and wife died of stab wounds to their heads, torsos, arms and legs.

Assistant Attorney General Megan Elam declined Tuesday to comment on Maher’s case.

Defense attorney Henry Griffin of Auburn said once the results of the psychological evaluations have been received, Maher would decide whether to proceed to trial or change his plea.

Griffin also said that he did not expect the reassignment of the case to a new judge to delay a possible trial.

Gov. Janet Mills on Monday nominated Stanfill to replace Leigh I. Saufley as chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Saufly left the court in April 2020 to serve as dean of the University of Maine School of Law. Stanfill, if confirmed, could be on the state’s high court bench next month.

If convicted, Maher faces between 25 years and life in prison.