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Life Sentence for 20-Year-old Slaying

January 16, 1985

CARIBOU, Maine (AP) _ A prison inmate convicted of killing a woman almost 20 years ago received a life term Wednesday after opting to be sentenced under the laws that were in effect in 1965.

Under the old code, Philip L. Adams could be paroled within ″10 or 11 years,″ said his lawyer, E. Allen Hunter.

The current statutes, which mandate a 25-year sentence on the murder charge, do not contain a parole provision but allow time off for good behavior. Had he chosen to be sentenced under that law, he could have been freed in about 17 years.

Adams, 42, was convicted Tuesday of killing Donna Mauch, a cocktail waitress and mother of one child.

Mrs. Mauch, 24, was bludgeoned to death on Feb. 24, 1965, in the Fort Fairfield apartment she shared with her brother.

Adams had told reporters that during telephone conversations from a Connecticut prison, he told his brother, Wayne, that he had committed the murder.

He also acknowledged discussing the case with his daughter.

But Adams contended he set himself up for a murder indictment to prove to his four children that he was innocent. He said his daughter had told him people were talking about the case and she asked him if he were guilty.

No murder weapons, witnesses or other physical evidence were presented during the four-day trial, but jurors returned the guilty verdict after less than three hours of deliberations.

Hunter said his client opted for sentencing under the old law because it ″offered the greatest promise of the earliest release,″ despite the more stringent mandatory term.

Parole was eliminated in Maine for crimes committed after May 1976. The possibility of Adams’ early release, said Aroostoock County District Attorney John D. McElwee, ″will guarantee the existence of a parole board in Maine for many years to come.″

Adams was extradicted to Maine to stand trial in the murder case. He had been serving a 10- to 20-year sentence in Connecticut State Prison for an assault conviction involving the beating of a boy.

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