Around New England

Confessing To Murdering Parents, Transgender Biological Son Sentenced To 40 Years

December 8, 2018

Andrew Balcer, referred to in some media accounts as “Andrea,” has been sentenced to 40 years imprisonment by Maine Superior Court Justice Daniel Billings after the 20-year-old confessed to brutally stabbing his parents to death on Halloween Day in 2016. The sentence is less than the state maximum of 55 years sought by prosecutors.

The killings occurred when Balcer was 17, so he could not be sentenced to life imprisonment, which the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional for juvenile crimes.

After his arrest in the early morning hours of his parents’ deaths, Balcer entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment. In September 2018 he changed that plea to guilty. He was also charged with cruelty to animals for killing the family dog during the murders. Prior to Balcer’s guilty plea, prosecutors were able to convince a judge to allow the state to try Balcer as an adult.

Reports after the murders of Antonio and Alice Balcer, both 47, including comments from Balcer’s defense attorney Walter McKee, show a confused young man who claimed his violent actions were the result of his announcing to his parents that he was transitioning from male to female, a decision and action he claimed they rejected.

Balcer also claimed he was sexually abused by his mother. Maine Assistant Attorney General Robert Evans said the prosecution would “not accept” Balcer’s claims of sexual abuse “as reality.”

Defense attorney McKee told People last year that the juvenile detention facility initially holding Balcer allowed him to transition to living as a female; there Balcer was known as Andrea. But as of December 2017, McKee said (according to the same People article) that “Andrew is again using male pronouns after being moved to an adult facility out of a concern over how a transgender identity might be received by other inmates.”

The December 2017 People article continues with another direct quote from McKee.

“The juvenile facility allowed him to identify as female and made accommodations for him to identify as a female. He has decided to set that aside, as challenging as that may be, in recognition that transgender individuals may have greater difficulties in adult correctional facilities. I say ‘he’ because as of today — if you asked me three months ago, [Andrew] was identifying as female and receiving all the support needed to be transgender, but that is not what he is doing now.”

In a video of the December 4 sentencing hearing when a victim impact statement was given by Balcer’s older brother, Christopher, who reportedly survived the attack by pleading for his life and fleeing the family home, the judge can clearly be heard beginning the proceeding with “in the case of the State of Maine versus Andew Balcer.” No mention of an “Andrea” Balcer can be heard in the court’s introduction. (A clerk in the superior court in Augusta, the state capitol, confirmed to the Post the case remains “The State of Maine v. Andrew Balcer.”)

An audio recording of Balcer’s 911 call to report the murders shows he admitted to killing both of his parents and the family dog with a knife. Police also say that after Balcer was placed in the back seat of a police cruiser upon his arrest, he began singing an opera.

In his victim impact statement, Balcer’s older brother Christopher urged the judge to show no leniency in sentencing his brother, whom he described as a “remorseless murderer.”

The Portland Press Herald further quotes Christopher Balcer as he speaks to his brother and the court about the murders:

“I still hear our dearest mother’s screams, every night as I fall asleep. Every morning as I awaken, they echo in my head. Her screams as she was stabbed by the son she doted on so much, the son she only wanted the world for, and would accept nothing less [..] I remember the foul things you accused her of, and the looks of horror upon the family’s faces as they heard about them. You are an inhuman creature and the fact that you continue to pretend otherwise sickens me.”

In his statement to the court, the defendant said, “I do not speak today to beg for leniency or to try and save myself from due punishments. I’m here to ask for the forgiveness of my family.”

Despite Christopher Balcer’s request for the severest sentence possible against his brother, the court decided to show Andrew Balcer leniency in the sentence it imposed – 40 years instead of 55 – citing the defendant’s age at the time of the crimes and his “immaturity and lack of emotional development,” the Portland Press Herald reports.

Both Antonio and Alice Balcer retired from service in the United States Coast Guard and had been working at a local veterinarian clinic at the time of their murders. Antonio is described as having been a “devout Christian.” His obituary says he was active in various Maine motorcycle clubs and was “known by many in this community as ‘Rev,’ he served as Chaplain, often officiating at club weddings and services. He spread his love for and relationship with the Lord through gentle prayer, providing guidance and support to those around him.”

Alice is described in her obituary as an “outdoor enthusiast” who graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon School, a college preparatory school in Massachusetts. She is said to have “fiercely loved her family, including her two sons” and that “she led life with unbounded energy, making the rest of us appear as mere mortals in her athletic abilities, mental and physical toughness, and her tenaciousness throughout all of her pursuits.”

It is not known whether Andrew Balcer will serve his sentence in an all-male or all-female facility. Requests for such information made by the Post have not yet been answered.



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