ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ A gardener who strangled and raped a 14-year-old girl in 1962 failed Thursday in an attempt to get his life sentence thrown out on the grounds he suffered ``episodes of mania'' from exposure to insecticides.

James R. Moore, 64, said he should be freed because his symptoms have vanished. He said he thought he was being sent to an institution for the criminally insane, rather than a prison, when he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

Moore has tried repeatedly to have his sentence set aside. This is the first time, however, that he cited exposure to dieldrin.

The insecticide was banned in New York in 1985 because it can cause damage to the liver and central nervous system. Rachel Carson's 1962 book ``Silent Spring'' said dieldrin causes mania.

``I know now that they were the true cause of the `depraved act' on the young girl I murdered,'' Moore said at a hearing Thursday.

Monroe County Judge William Bristol rejected the argument.

Prosecutor Robert Mastrocola said Moore's overture was irrelevant. ``He admitted what he did and accepted the sentence,'' he said.

Moore was spared execution when he pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence without parole.