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State v. Goodale
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MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT					Reporter of Decisions
Decision:	1998 ME 102
Docket:	Som-96-771
Argued:	October 6, 1997	
Decided:	May 11, 1998




	[¶1]	The defendant Gerald Goodale appeals from the 75-year
sentence imposed on him by the Superior Court (Somerset County,
Alexander, J.) following his conviction for intentional or knowing murder in
violation of 17-A M.R.S.A. § 201(1)(A) (1983).  Goodale challenges the
appropriateness of his 75-year sentence, labeling it as excessive in light of
the nature and seriousness of his crime and the aggravating and mitigating
factors peculiar to him.  We disagree and affirm his sentence.
	[¶2]	In May 1989, at the conclusion of a three-day jury-waived trial,
the court found Goodale guilty of murdering 23-year-old Geraldine Finn.  In
rendering this verdict, the court concluded that Goodale picked up Finn at a
bar in Waterville, drove her to a secluded location near Skowhegan,
attempted to, or did, sexually assault her, and intentionally or knowingly
strangled her in order to overcome her resistance to the assault.  Goodale,
however, claimed both before and after the verdict that he did not sexually
assault Finn but killed her accidentally while restraining her when she
panicked.  Following a thorough pre-sentence investigation and a June 1989
sentencing hearing, the court sentenced Goodale to 75 years in prison,{1}
focusing on the nature and seriousness of Goodale's crime, his lack of
remorse, and the court's obligation to protect the public.  Although we
upheld the legality of this sentence on his direct appeal, State v. Goodale,
571 A.2d 228, 229 (Me. 1990), Goodale failed to file a timely appeal
challenging the appropriateness of his sentence.  On post-conviction
petition, the court (Delahanty, II, J.) reinstated that right, and the Sentence
Review Panel granted Goodale leave to appeal.
	[¶3]	Goodale's 1989 sentence of 75 years in prison was not
inappropriate based on the nature and seriousness of his crime alone.  The
court found that Goodale randomly selected Finn for sexual activities or
abuse and strangled her when she resisted.  The court also found that Finn's
death took at least three to four minutes to occur and was accompanied by a
struggle.  The violent strangulation of a randomly selected victim over at
least three to four minutes when the victim was resisting a sexual attack and
must necessarily have been aware of her impending death constitutes the
kind of inhumanity and cruelty that justifies a period of incarceration in the
range of 50 to 75 years.
	[¶4]	The aggravating factors peculiar to Goodale only serve to
reinforce our conclusion that his 75-year sentence was not inappropriate. 
The court found that Goodale lacked remorse for his crime and that finding
was not clearly erroneous.  Further, Goodale continued to insist both before
and after trial that his strangulation of Finn was an accident.  Finally, the
pre-sentence investigation revealed that Goodale had a criminal record and
posed a poor prospect for rehabilitation.  These aggravating factors, in
combination with the nature and seriousness of the crime, justify a period of
incarceration of 75 years.
	[¶5]	In State v. Wood, 662 A.2d 908, 913 (Me. 1996), we affirmed a
murder defendant's 65-year sentence as appropriate.  The nature and
seriousness of the crime and the aggravating factors peculiar to the
defendant in Wood bear compelling similarities to the nature and
seriousness of Goodale's crime and the aggravating factors he presented.  Id. 
We are convinced that Goodale's 1989 sentence of 75 years in prison is not
	The entry is:
					Sentence affirmed.
Attorneys for State: Andrew Ketterer, Attorney General Charles K. Leadbetter, Asst. Atty. Gen., (orally) Fernand Larochelle, Asst. Atty. Gen. 6 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0006 Attorney for defendant: Joel C. Vincent, Esq., (orally) Altshuler & Vincent P O Box 6630 Portland, ME 04101-6630 (new counsel on appeal)
FOOTNOTES******************************** {1} The applicable deductions for good and meritorious ("extra") good time pursuant to 17-A M.R.S.A. § 1253(3), (4), and (5) (1983) effectively reduced Goodale's 75-year sentence to a term of 43 years, giving the 29-year-old defendant a projected release date in his early seventies.