SKOWHEGAN, Maine — Jeffrey LaGasse of New Portland pleaded not guilty Friday to the charge that he murdered his neighbor in 2007.
LaGasse, 31, who appeared in Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan, was indicted by a grand jury last week in the murder of Louise Brochu, 50, who was found dead outside her flooring business in June 2007. Brochu was LaGasse’s neighbor and former employer.
Attorney Jason Jabar of Waterville told the Bangor Daily News that he was appointed as LaGasse’s defense attorney after Friday’s hearing. As of Friday evening, Jabar had not yet met with his client.
“I know he’s adamantly denying he committed the crime,” said Jabar, who will defend LaGasse along with attorneys Francis Griffin of Waterville and Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth.
“We’ve requested discovery from the state to see what they’re basing their case on,” said Jabar. “I’d like to comment but I can’t because it’s premature.”
Kate Simmons, a spokeswoman for the Maine Attorney General’s Office, said she could not comment on the case. Asked why two years passed between the murder and LaGasse’s indictment last week, Simmons said only that there is no statute of limitations for the charge of murder. The lead prosecutor is Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes, who heads the attorney general’s criminal division. Stokes was not available for comment.
LaGasse, who has been questioned before in connection with Brochu’s death, has been in Maine State Prison for almost two years for a parole violation stemming from an unrelated charge, said Jabar.
LaGasse is scheduled for release “in a couple of months,” said Jabar, who said it was unclear whether his client will remain in custody until his trial for murder is over.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.