Life sentence imposed in Maine cold case

Thomas Mitchell (left) and his attorney Jim Strong appear in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday in Augusta for an arraignment hearing in connection with the Jan. 6, 1983, murder of Judith Flagg that occurred in Fayette. (AP Photo/Kennebec Journal, Joe Phelan) ** MAGS OUT **
AP
Thomas Mitchell (left) and his attorney Jim Strong appear in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday in Augusta for an arraignment hearing in connection with the Jan. 6, 1983, murder of Judith Flagg that occurred in Fayette. (AP Photo/Kennebec Journal, Joe Phelan) ** MAGS OUT **
Posted Aug. 03, 2009, at 12:13 p.m.
Thomas Mitchell Jr  (Photo by Russ Dillingham)
Thomas Mitchell Jr (Photo by Russ Dillingham)

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine man linked to a cold case murder by DNA evidence has been sentenced to life in prison.

Justice Joseph Jabar on Monday imposed the state’s maximum penalty on Thomas Mitchell Jr., who was accused of sexually assaulting and fatally stabbing Judith Flagg in January 1983 in the presence of her 13-month-old son.

Mitchell wasn’t charged until 2006 — 23 years after the crime — when testing revealed the presence of his DNA. He was convicted of murder in June.

Mitchell didn’t speak at Monday’s hearing in Kennebec County Superior Court, but his lawyer says Mitchell continues to maintain his innocence. At the time of his arrest, Mitchell was completing prison sentences for kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted murder.

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