Man guilty of manslaughter in Maine cold case

Posted Oct. 13, 2009, at 12:42 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A 61-year-old New Hampshire man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 1986 strangulation death of a woman in Portland, Maine.

Roger Bernier, a disabled veteran from Manchester, entered his plea Tuesday in Cumberland County Superior Court. Bernier told police he doesn’t remember killing 33-year-old Mary Kelley, whose body was found in the bathtub of her Congress Street apartment 23 years ago.

Bernier originally pleaded not guilty to murder, but the Portland Press Herald says prosecutors gave him the chance to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter. Bernier faces up to 20 years in prison, which was the maximum penalty at the time of the crime.

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