State seeks 55 year sentence for Presque Isle man found guilty of stabbing, beating live-in girlfriend

Posted Dec. 03, 2013, at 4:59 p.m.
George Jaime attends the first day of his trial in Aroostook County Superior County in Houlton in this November 2013 photo. Jaime was found guilty last month of stabbing and beating to death his live-in girlfriend, Starlette Vining.
Jen Lynds
George Jaime attends the first day of his trial in Aroostook County Superior County in Houlton in this November 2013 photo. Jaime was found guilty last month of stabbing and beating to death his live-in girlfriend, Starlette Vining.

HOULTON, Maine — Prosecutors will ask that the 76-year-old Presque Isle man found guilty last month of stabbing and beating to death his live-in girlfriend in a drunken rage 15 years ago spend the next 55 years in prison for his crimes.

George Jaime will be sentenced 9 a.m. Dec. 20, in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson said Tuesday. After a four day jury trial, Jaime was found guilty of intentional and knowing murder on Nov. 15. The body of Starlette Vining, who was 38 years old when she was last seen alive in October 1998, was never found.

The accused killer’s son, Ted Jaime, and his friend, James Campbell, both testified that George Jaime told them he stabbed Vining to death, dismembered her body and incinerated it in a commercial furnace in the basement of the pawn shop and apartment complex he owned on Main Street in Presque Isle. Ted Jaime also testified he saw Vining’s corpse in his father’s apartment, and both he and Campbell said they helped clean up the murder scene.

Ted Jaime’s ex-wife, Parise Voisine, also said on the witness stand that her former husband told her about cleaning up the murder scene and the dismemberment.

During the trial, defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein challenged the recollections of Ted Jaime and Campbell, pointing out that some of their accounts of what happened and details about cleaning up the crime scene did not match up. Both men also admitted to past histories of drug and alcohol abuse.

Silverstein also argued that there was no evidence that Vining was dead.

In his sentencing memorandum, Benson argued that a 55 year prison sentence is appropriate because of the degree of violence involved in Vining’s death, the fact there was no motive, and that George Jaime was intoxicated at the time of the murder and committed it with a dangerous weapon. Jaime stabbed Vining repeatedly with a Marine style KA-BAR knife, and when she wouldn’t die, he beat her with the hilt of the knife, which Benson called a “particularly vicious way to commit a homicide.”

He also said that the judge should weigh how the loss of Vining will impact her family for the rest of her life. Vining has three adult children, who Benson noted will “mourn Starlette’s loss for the rest of their lives.”

Benson also argued that a 55 year sentence would be justified because of the “subjective suffering” that Vining underwent prior to her death.

“It is an understatement to observe that Vining must have died hard,” Benson wrote in the sentencing memorandum, reiterating that she was repeatedly stabbed and beaten. “In the moments before her death, in all likelihood, Starlette Vining was both terrified and in excruciating pain.”

The length of the sentence also is supported by the fact that Jaime showed no remorse for his crimes, Benson argued, and according to Campbell’s testimony, he was “kind of proud” of what he had done. The prosecutor said the defendant’s lack of remorse and refusal to accept responsibility necessitated a higher sentence.

Silverstein said Tuesday that he has already filed a motion for a new trial for Jaime based on several factors, including that some of the statements that Ted Jaime made to witnesses such as Voisine and Campbell should not have been allowed into evidence.

“They were introduced over my objections,” he said. He also believes there was insufficient evidence to convict his client.

The minimum sentence that George Jaime could receive is 25 years in prison.

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