Murray determined Phillip Scott Fournier, 57, of East Millinocket was guilty of murdering Joyce McLain in 1980. She was murdered on the evening of August 8, 1980. Her body was found two days later behind Schenck High School.
It was 2016 when Fournier was arrested on a murder charge in connection with McLain's murder. Now more than 37 years after her death her family can close the book on that chapter of their lives.
"It's been a long 37 and a half years. A lot of closure today. I'm going to start a different life," Joyce's mother, Pam McLain said outside the court house following the announcement of the verdict.
Throughout the trial, Fournier's defense team maintained the numerous times he confessed to the crime he was just relating adopted memories. The judge however, didn't believe that.
"We are disappointed. We had put a lot of work into making a presentation that we thought addressed the state's case squarely on all points," Jeff Silverstein, Fournier's attorney told reporters Thursday morning..
While the prosecution team routinely handles murder trials, the lead prosecutor said this verdict was special. "What we do, it's our job. We've been doing homicide cases for a while now, but this is an important case for the family and the community," said Leane Zainea, an assistant attorney general. Silverstein said the verdict will be appealed. However, Zainea said she hasn't had time yet to consider the length of the prison term that will be recommended to the judge.
Joyce McLain's uncle said this isn't closure for him, but it may be for some people. "And I may be alone, I don't know, in the family, but closure isn't for us because we're never going to have closure. But it's close for Mr. Fournier because he's going where he should have gone 37 year, 37 and half years ago," Daniel Hale said.
Pam McLain said her heart goes out to the Fournier family. "I don't hate Scott. I don't hate them. It's over," she said.
Judge Murray cited Fourner's attempt theft of a fuel oil truck in the early morning hours after Joyce's murder as evidence of his guilt. The judge also stated Fournier knew the murder victim was in her menstrual cycle when she died. That was a piece of evidence not publicly released until after Fournier's arrest.
It will be several weeks before Fournier is sentenced. A convicted murderer, Fournier could spend from 25 years to the rest of his life in prison.