Court rejects Fayette murder conviction appeal

Posted Aug. 05, 2010, at 5:13 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:34 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s highest court has upheld the conviction of a former South Portland man who is serving a life sentence for the 1983 murder of a teenager in Fayette.

In a 4-1 decision, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday rejected Thomas Mitchell Jr.’s appeal of his conviction in the death of Judith Flagg in January 1983. The crime went unsolved until 2006 when testing of old evidence revealed Mitchell’s DNA.

In his appeal, the 53-year-old Mitchell argued that a lower court judge erred by excluding evidence of an alternative suspect and allowing evidence from the victim’s autopsy.

The majority of the court rejected Mitchell’s arguments, but Justice Warren Silver said he would grant a new trial allowing the jury to hear the alternative suspect evidence.

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