Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey released a report on his office’s investigation into the 2021 death of a man who broke into the Livermore Falls home of his ex-girlfriend’s father, took the father and her boyfriend hostage, and planted 11 pipe bombs throughout the house before a standoff with police.
Donald White, 44, of Jay, broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend’s father, 64-year-old Kenneth Smith, in the early hours of Monday, March 8, 2021 — armed with two firearms, zip-tie wrist restraints, and handcuffs.
Smith, his granddaughter, daughter, and the daughter’s then-boyfriend were asleep inside the house.
White entered Smith’s bedroom, on the first floor of the house, and after a struggle in which White placed his knee on Smith’s throat and asked him if he wanted to be with his deceased wife, restrained his wrists with a zip-tie.
Shortly after 5 a.m. the daughter’s boyfriend awoke and went downstairs, and entered the kitchen to see a man with a gun standing at the threshold between the porch and kitchen — the boyfriend did not know at the time that the man was Donald White.
White then restrained the boyfriend’s wrists, after threatening to shoot him in the leg.
Smith’s daughter, awakened by the sound of a thud, went downstairs to investigate.
When she entered the living room, she saw her boyfriend laying prone on the floor with his hands restrained behind his back.
After he told her that there was someone in the house, the daughter called 911.
Before she could provide her name and address to the 911 operator, White grabbed the phone from her and threw it, instructing her to say the first call was a mistake when the operator called back.
When the boyfriend distracted White, the daughter escaped the house and fled to a neighbor’s home, where the neighbor called 911.
During that time, White was in the living room constructing 11 pipe bombs, some capable of being remotely detonated, and placing them around the house.
Officers from the Livermore Falls Police Department and the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office were the first to respond and set up a perimeter around the house.
Officers then began to negotiate with White — who threw a pipe bomb from the house outside into the driveway.
The State Police Tactical Team and Crisis Negotiation Team were activated shortly thereafter, and at 9:22 a.m. a search warrant for the home and an arrest warrant for White on charges of kidnapping, aggravated reckless assault, and burglary were issued.
White was speaking with the State Police crisis negotiator, telling him not to let the tactical people approach the home, that he had all the entrances covered, and that if they tried to take him out, there were timers on the pipe bombs.
At around 10 a.m., the boyfriend and Smith’s granddaughter were able to escape through a second-floor window while White was on the phone with negotiators.
The standoff lasted throughout the day and into the evening, with negotiators urging White to come out of the house and to release Smith safely.
White told a negotiator that he “had information concerning a large pedophile ring involving hundreds of people and that he wanted to be treated seriously,” according to the Attorney General’s report.
He said that he did not want to hurt anyone and that he only wanted to expose the sexual abuse.
When White allowed Smith on the phone to speak with negotiators, Smith told them that White had a handgun in his waistband and had threatened him with the gun, and that there were Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) attached to the doors and windows.
White later told a negotiator that there was a pipe bomb next to Smith’s head, and that he wanted to be left alone for a few hours.
Shortly before 11 p.m., Sgt. James Macdonald of the State Police Tactical Team took a position in the second-floor bathroom of a residence behind Smith’s home, armed with a rifle with a night vision scope.
He identified White, and shot him once in the torso — he screamed and disappeared from the window.
Smith later reported that White told him that he had been shot in the armpit, and that he sat next to him on the couch praying for forgiveness.
Calls to White from negotiators after he was shot went unanswered.
While preparing a plan to rescue Smith from the house, the Tactical Team heard a gunshot coming from inside the house.
Smith later told investigators that when he heard the gunshot from inside the house, White slumped towards him on the couch.
Smith left the house, told officers that White was injured on the couch, and that there were bombs planted throughout the home.
The State Police Bomb Team used a robot to enter the home and confirmed that White was deceased.
The Bomb Team found 11 pipe bombs throughout the house, several with remote control receivers and fuses, along with bomb making components in the kitchen.
An autopsy examination by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that while White had suffered a gunshot wound through the right arm and into his torso and out his back, he had ultimately died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
“When Sgt. Macdonald shot at Mr. White, he reasonably believed that Mr. White was presenting an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to Kenneth Smith and that he had committed crimes involving the threatened use of deadly force, as well as demonstrating that he was likely to seriously endanger human life further unless apprehended without delay,” Attorney General Frey wrote in his report.
“All the facts and circumstances point to the conclusion that Sgt. Macdonald acted in the defense of Mr. Smith and others when he shot at Mr. White,” the report concludes.
Read Attorney General Frey’s full report below: