Woman’s admitted murderer will be sentenced this week, and sued in civil court

In this August 2013 file photo, Todd M. Gilday is escorted into the Waldo County Superior Courthouse.
Abigail Curtis | BDN
In this August 2013 file photo, Todd M. Gilday is escorted into the Waldo County Superior Courthouse.
Posted Aug. 19, 2014, at 11:25 a.m.
Last modified Aug. 19, 2014, at 12:34 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — The man who pleaded guilty earlier this summer to murdering a well-loved local woman last August will be sentenced this week at Waldo County Superior Court to 50 years in prison, according to a deal worked out with state prosecutors and his defense attorney.

Todd Gilday, 44, a former tax examiner, shot and killed 55-year-old Lynn Arsenault the night of Aug. 28, 2013, at her son’s home in Belfast. Police affidavits have stated that Gilday was upset over a friend’s child custody case and had consumed a large amount of opiates before he went to Mathew Day’s yellow house on Waldo Avenue with a shotgun.

There, he shot through the door, according to the Maine State Police detective’s affidavit, then shot the 22-year-old Day in the stomach and arm, seriously injuring him. Day told police that Arsenault, 55, came out of a bedroom where she had been sleeping and may have tried to grab the gun from Gilday before he fired at her, shooting her in the chest.

Arsenault’s husband, Donald Arsenault Jr. of Garland, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Gilday, according to a press release from the Berman and Simmons law firm that was issued Tuesday morning. Attorney James O’Connell said his client is seeking unspecified financial compensation for the loss of his wife, including her conscious pain and suffering before her death.

“The loss of Lynn Arsenault has been devastating to her husband, other family members and her community,” O’Connell said in the release. “No one should have to endure what they have gone through over the past year. This lawsuit is intended to make sure that justice is delivered in Maine’s civil court system, just as it has been done in the criminal system.”

Although Gilday last fall pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges of intentional and knowing murder, aggravated attempted murder and elevated aggravated assault, in July he changed his plea to guilty.

After shooting Day and Arsenault, Gilday drove himself to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, where he asked to be admitted to the psychiatric and addiction recovery unit at 1 a.m., telling the staff there he was a drug addict and had had a “very bad night,” according to the police affidavit.

Day told police that he had known Gilday for about three months and had met him through his girlfriend. He said that he and Gilday would get drugs for each other, according to the affidavit.

When asking the court that he be declared indigent, Gilday, who had most recently sold health insurance policies and lived in a Belfast condominium complex, said last year that he had just $375 in cash assets and over $50,000 in student loans.

Arsenault was described by some of the more than 150 people who came to a September vigil held in her memory as a dedicated mentor, good friend and devoted mother. She worked for Bank of America, where co-workers said she was always willing to help and where her smile would be missed.

Gilday’s sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, at Waldo County Superior Court. He has two court-appointed attorneys, Jeremy Pratt of Camden and Philip Cohen of Waldoboro, who himself has been in legal trouble this year that began when he was charged in November with domestic violence assault.

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