BANGOR, Maine — A defense lawyer told a judge on Monday that “doubts will linger” regardless of whether she convicts or acquits a 57-year-old man in the death of a teenage girl in 1980.
Jeffrey Silverstein accused prosecutors of trying to fit a “square peg into a round hole” in its case against Phillip Scott Fournier, who’s charged with killing 16-year-old Joyce McLain when he was a young man.
Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said Fournier confessed several times and knew a key detail that only someone who was present at the crime scene would’ve known. She also said that all of the other suspects were ruled out by investigators.
Superior Court Justice Ann Murray gave no timetable for her decision in the jury-waived trial.
McLain’s family has been waiting 37 years for justice.
The teenager, who was from East Millinocket, disappeared on a jog after a full day of baby sitting and piano lessons. Her body was found two days later wearing only sneakers and socks. She’d been bludgeoned.
Silverstein reiterated in his closing argument that there was no physical evidence, including DNA or fingerprints, to link the defendant to the crime scene behind high school athletic fields.
He also contended Fournier’s memories were rendered unreliable by a head injury he suffered when he stole and crashed a truck on the night McLain disappeared. Fournier was in a coma for eight days.
Zainea told the judge that she shouldn’t read anything into the fact that it took more than 30 years to charge Fournier in 2016.
Over the years, Fournier was interviewed many times by police, and he gave several accounts of what happened.
The defendant is guilty, Zainea said, whether he was interviewed “once, 10 times or 100.” She told the judge, “He confessed to killing Joyce McLain, and he knew it was wrong.”