BANGOR, Maine — Ashton Moores did not just rape and murder Christina Simonin back in March 2007, he tortured her.
She was alive as he fractured her skull, strangled her, broke her ribs on both sides and brutally assaulted her sexually.
Moores then “hog-tied” her with her own bloody clothing, wrapped her in a mattress pad, and used a borrowed wheelbarrow to push her body through the streets of Bangor until he dumped her near a small shed later to be found by a group of teenagers.
For his cold-blooded actions and his complete lack of remorse, Superior Court Justice William Anderson on Thursday sentenced him to life in prison for the murder and gave him a 20-year concurrent sentence for the rape.
Moores’ actions against Simonin resulted in “one of the most severe ways to commit a murder,” the judge said, describing them as “torture. She was undoubtedly experiencing great physical pain prior to her death.”
While the judge made his findings, Simonin’s mother, Harriett Ross, rolled the wheelchair she sat in back and forth. Immediately after Anderson finished the sentencing, she said, “We got what we wanted. That is justice.”
Seven other family members were in the courtroom with Ross and two of Simonin’s sisters and two nieces spoke, saying they missed her, before Anderson handed Moores his life sentence. While they spoke, Moores looked straight ahead.
Many of the same family members were in the courtroom in November for the three-day, jury-waived trial when Moores, 61, was convicted of raping and killing Simonin, 43. Her body was found on March 3, 2007, a block from the First Street residence they shared.
Videotapes showing a figure pushing a wheelbarrow carrying something that appears to be wrapped in a blue tarp to the area where Simonin’s body was found and evidence tying that wheelbarrow to Moores are what convinced Anderson that Moores was guilty, the judge said at the trial.
Along with the videotapes, evidence that Simonin’s blood was in the wheelbarrow that Moores borrowed from his landlord as well as in his First Street apartment were key factors in his findings.
During the trial, an audiotape in which Moores said he borrowed the wheelbarrow from his landlord was played, and a neighbor who lived across the hall from Moores at the time of the homicide testified that she gave him the comforter that was wrapped around the dead woman.
Blood found on a baseboard and under ripped-up carpet in Moores’ apartment at 83 First St. and inside the borrowed wheelbarrow match the dead woman’s, and DNA from semen found on the victim’s underwear matched Moores’ DNA.
Another factor in the sentencing concerned Moores’ extensive criminal history, which was mostly for arsons that date back to 1966 and include one arson during 1972 in Orono that resulted in the death of the homeowner, Edmund LaPointe, 76.
LaPointe’s grandson, Daniel LaPointe, was in the courtroom on Thursday and after the sentencing said, “that’s great.” Earlier, he said he was outraged that Moores was ever allowed out of prison.
Moores, who has been held at Penobscot County Jail in Bangor since his arrest, will be transferred to the Maine State Prison in Warren, a facility that has housed him on at least two prior occasions.
A picture of Simonin, taken at her sister Cheryl’s wedding, sat on the table before Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson, who prosecuted the case.
“This is a homicide that involves extreme cruelty, tantamount to torture, and an extreme sexual assault,” he said, while asking Anderson to give Moores a life sentence. He added later that, “There is no rational motive, understandable motive, other than rage.”
Moores did not testify during his trial and did not speak during his sentencing.
The maximum sentence Anderson imposed is for the “horrible seriousness of what you did to this poor woman,” the judge said directly to Moores, who wore a fire-red jail jumpsuit, an indication that he is a maximum security inmate. “A life sentence is designed for cases like this.”