Monday, 22 January 2018 18:39

Trial begins in 1980 murder Featured

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BANGOR - The murder trial of an East Millinocket man accused of murdering a 16-year-old girl started Monday.

The murder happened more than 37 years ago, but was 2016 before anyone was charged with the crime.

 

"See you later, mom." Those were the last words Pam McLain heard from her daughter, Joyce on August 8th, 1980. Pam Mclain was the first person to testify in the murder trial of 57-year-old Phillip Scott Fournier  She told a judge Monday

morning, the last time she saw Joyce, her daughter was jogging away from the house.

 

Joyce McLain's body was found less than 48 hours later, on a path behind Schenck High School.

 

"The only evidence the state has to connect Scott to the killing are Scott's own statements," said John Haddow, a member of Fournier's defense team.

 

The defense contended not only has the state had numerous prime suspects during the past four decades, but Fournier suffered a head injury that may have contributed to so-called adopted memories, leading to his confessions of the murder.

 

"He was in tears, he said, 'Momma, I'm sorry.' Sorry for what. 'I did it. I killed Joyce McLain. I didn't mean to Momma," said Leanne Robbin, an assistant attorney general. She said Fournier made that statement to his mother and step-father, after confessing to his minister in May 1981.

 

The defense also questioned the professionalism of the police investigation. "The police were an indirect source of rumors," Haddow told Penobscot County Superior Court Judge Ann Murray. .

 

In fact, the prosecutor admitted the police were less than top-notch in their techniques. "Unlike today's investigative practices, in the early eighties it was not routine to audio-record witness interviews. So we can't go back to the audio tape. Even worse, the investigators present at that interview never bothered to write a report of that interview," Robbin said Monday morning in her opening statement.

 

Despite the crime taking place nearly 40 years ago, it's wounds are still fresh in the hearts of Joyce McLain's friends. "And we lived in a town where you could go anywhere at anytime and feel safe, until this," said Michele Moran, who was a friend of McLain's since they were three years old.

 

Friends said they want this trial to bring closure to Pam McLain and her family. "I remember Pam saying, she was not going to go to her grave until this happened," said long-time family friend Arline Nelson.

 

Monday, afternoon, the judge and lawyers for both sides traveled to East Millinocket to view the site where this murder allegedly took place.

 

Ultimately, Fournier's fate will be decided by Murray. It's up to her whether he's innocent or guilty.

 

The trial is expected to last as long as  three weeks, with as many as witnesses testifying.

TJ Tremble

Reporter
[email protected]

T.J. Tremble joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX FOX 22 in March 2016.

He was raised in Bangor, attended Bangor schools and graduated from John Bapst High School. He attended the University of Maine, studying political science.

He started his news career at the Camden Herald, many years ago. He also worked for the Bangor Daily News in Rockland, Belfast and Bangor.

He entered broadcast journalism as news director for WQCB-FM, Brewer. For Many years he worked behind the scenes in radio and television.

Recently, he worked as a news reporter for Zone Radio Corporation in Bangor [WZON-AM, WKIT-FM and WZLO-FM.

He has received reporting awards from the Maine Press Association, Maine Association of Broadcasters and the Maine Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

He is married, with three adult children and two grandchildren.