State police trooper and game wardens stand Monday afternoon in the parking lot of the American Legion hall in Machias after responding to reports of shootings earlier in the day in Machias and Jonesboro. Police have said there are multiple victims and that someone is in custody but as of mid-afternoon Monday had not released any additional information. Credit: Bill Trotter

Members of the Machias chapter of the American Legion testified Thursday that Thomas Bonfanti was visibly shaken when he showed up at the Legion hall and told them he had shot several people.

The Legion members took the witness stand at the second day of the triple murder trial in Belfast. Bonfanti, 65, of Northfield, is accused of shooting and killing three people during a Feb. 3, 2020, shooting rampage at three different houses in Machias and Jonesboro.

Regina Hall Long, who was also shot, also testified Wednesday morning.

Marty Preston, a Legion member, said he was at the Machias Legion hall on Court Street, not far from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, when Bonfanti walked in around 10:30 a.m. He approached the bar where Preston was sitting, laid several hundred dollars on the bar and said the money should be used for his cremation.

“He was a nervous wreck when he come in there,” Preston said. “He was all shook up. He said ‘I just snapped.’”

When Preston asked him what he was talking about, Bonfanti said he had just shot several people. Then he finished drinking a soda and went back out to his Chevrolet Suburban to wait for the police to show up.

Preston said he was worried what Bonfanti might do next.

“I told everybody to stay away from the door and stay away from the windows.”

Burt Merchant, another Legion member, testified that Bonfanti was waiting in his vehicle when he got there a few minutes later. When Merchant walked up to his car to say hello, Bonfanti told him he had just shot several people. Merchant, objecting to the comment, told him to not be “foolish.”

“He was pale in the face and shaking,” Merchant said. “I could tell he was upset.”

A bartender at the Legion hall who overheard Bonfanti’s comments to Preston called police, who showed up a few minutes later and arrested him without resistance.

Police who responded to the Legion hall said that after Bonfanti was taken into custody, officers found a KelTec pistol under a reusable Hannaford shopping bag in the front seat of Bonfanti’s Suburban.

In the back seat were two dogs, Bonfanti’s dog Rosie and a boxer-pit bull mix named Mercedes that belonged to Jennifer Bryant Flynn and Gordon Flynn. Bonfanti took Mercedes from the Flynn’s home after he allegedly shot and killed Jennifer Bryant Flynn during the shooting spree. The dogs were not harmed.

Bonfanti also is accused of shooting and killing Samuel Powers, 33, of Jonesboro; and Shawn Currey, 57, of Machias, and of shooting Long, now 51, who was dating Currey.

Long, who testified Wednesday afternoon, took the stand again Thursday morning under cross examination by Jeffrey Toothaker, Bonfanti’s defense attorney.

Others who testified Thursday included emergency dispatchers who answered a 911 call from Long after she was shot, and police officers who responded to calls about the shootings.

Testimony in the trial is expected to continue Friday and next week after the Memorial Day holiday

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....