Tuesday, 06 February 2018 09:44

Murder trial comes to an end 37 years after the fact Featured

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BANGOR - The fate of an East Millinocket man is now up to a Bangor judge.

For the past two weeks, Phillip Scott Fourner has been on trial for murder in connection with the 1980 slaying of an East Millinocket teen.

 

A little more than 37 years after the body of Joyce McLain was found under a power line behind Schenck High School, closure for her family and friends may be in sight.

 

Monday morning, the defense and prosecuting attorneys made their final arguments to Judge Ann Murray.

 

Fournier decided to forgo a jury trial and let the judge determine his guilt or innocence.

 

Fournier was arrested in march 2016 on the murder charge. During the previous three-and-a-half decades he confessed to the crime several times.

 

The prosecution contended a lack of physical evidence was irrelevant.

 

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zanea said "Doesn't change what this defendant said to his mother, 'Momma, I know what I've done. I've killed Joyce McLain.'"

 

Throughout the trial, the defense maintained Fourner's confessions were triggered by adopted memories resulting from a traumatic brain injury.

 

Defense attorney Jeff Silverstein stated "They identified an easy guy to pick. The guy with a brain injury. The guy who'd made compromising statements in the past."

 

The defense attorney argued Fournier knew facts of the case because of rumors circulating through East Millinocket.

 

The prosecution disagreed. Zainea stated "He knew that because he was there. He was there when Joyce McLain was murdered."

 

While the defense team has pointed to alternative suspects, Zainea told the judge even if there were others involved Fournier was still guilty of murder.

 

According to defense attorney Jeff Silverstein, at least one previous detective failed to see any value in Fournier's confessions. "And they're shoving a round peg into a square hole to make it fit as best they can. It doesn't fit." added Silverstein.

 

The state argued Fournier gave inconsistent confessions because he was playing the detectives. Zainea stated "If you focus in on what the defendant said, 'I killed Joyce McLain. I knew it was wrong.'"

 

If convicted, Fournier faces from 25 years to life in prison.

 

There's no indication when the judge will announce her decision.

 

Judge Murray said she'll take this under advisement. Her decision could come tomorrow or two weeks from tomorrow.