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Convicted Murderer Sentenced To Life Terms, Plus 35 Years

September 27, 1988

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ A young man who killed two people and wounded a third in a shooting spree at a government building last winter was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum of two consecutive life terms plus 35 1/4 years in prison.

Aaron Lindh, 19, of Madison, was sentenced by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Robert Pekowsky. A two-week trial ended Saturday when a jury ruled Lindh was sane Jan. 15 when he shot at people at random in the City-County Building with a .22-caliber rifle, before he was shot by police.

″There is no remorse reflected in this record, no guilt ... no conscience″ Pekowsky said.

Lindh was convicted last week of first-degree murder in the deaths of Coroner Clyde Chamberlain and county corporation counsel secretary Eleanor Townsend. He also was convicted of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of another person.

Lindh was expressionless throughout the proceeding and simply replied ″no″ when the judge asked if he had anything to say before sentencing.

Lindh’s adoptive parents, Mary Anne and John Lindh, and an unidentified young woman sat in the front row hugging and periodically crying.

The courtroom also was filled with relatives and friends of Townsend and Chamberlain, many in tears.

″The ramifications of what happened on the 15th of January will be felt a long time,″ Pekowsky said. ″It deserves the most severe sentence I can deal out.″

The judge imposed mandatory life terms plus five years for the murders. The additional five years was added because Lindh used a firearm. The judge also sentenced the defendant to 25 years on the attempted murder charge and 90 days for carrying a firearm into a public building.

The judge ordered that the sentences be served consecutively. After the hearing, Lindh’s attorney, state public defender Robert Burke, said he will appeal the conviction.

Burke contended Lindh’s rights were violated when he was questioned twice in his hospital room hours after the shooting. The judge ruled the statements admissable.

Burke also contended he should have been allowed to cross-examine a key prosecution witness, who said Lindh was not mentally ill, about a separate case in which the witness may face charges before the state Medical Examining Board.

Burke said he wanted to find out if the witness may have fashioned his testimony to benefit himself in the event charges are filed in the other case.

Burke also questioned Lindh’s safety in prison.

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