BANGOR, Maine — A local man was sentenced Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to life in prison for restraining and strangling his girlfriend more than two years ago in the Essex Street apartment they shared.
Zackery G. Mailloux, 23, of Bangor pleaded guilty last year to kidnapping and murder in connection with the death of Brooke Locke, a 21-year-old Husson University student, on Nov. 18, 2013.
Superior Court Justice Ann Murray sentenced Mailloux to life in prison on the murder charge and to 30 years in prison on the kidnapping charge. In a plea agreement with the prosecution, one count of gross sexaul assault was dismissed at sentencing.
In imposing the sentence, Murray called the crime “premeditated, heinous and cold-blooded.”
About 40 members of Locke’s family and her friends from Edward Little High School in Auburn and Husson University in Bangor attended the sentencing. All asked that Mailloux spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“I’m really pleased with the life sentence,” Locke’s mother Priscilla Locke of Auburn said after the sentencing. “It’s not going to bring my daughter back but at least he’s not going to be out there hurting someone else.”
In a rambling statement addressed more to the gallery than Murphy, Mailloux asked the judge to impose a life sentence since Maine has no death penalty. Mailloux said that if he were to be executed, “at least I would be able to donate my organs and do some good.”
Mailloux also said that the facts the prosecutor had outlined about his relationship with Locke and how she died were not entirely accurate.
“It was still horrendous,” he said. “It was still terrible, but it was not as bad as you think.”
Mailloux said that he “still loved Brooke” and had pictures of her in his cell.
“She’s first in my mind and in my heart,” he said.
Mailloux said that he had “begged” his mother and other family members not to attend the sentencing and not to speak on his behalf. They complied with his wishes. No one was in court Wednesday to support him other than his attorney.
Priscilla Locke of Auburn told reporters after the sentencing that Mailloux’s statement to the judge was “insincere.”
“He showed no remorse,” she said. “He didn’t even apologize to the family.”
Murray made similar observations in imposing the life sentence.
Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea recommended a life sentence on the murder charge and 30 years on the kidnapping charge. Defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein on Wednesday did not recommend a specific sentence but said a term measured in years rather than life was appropriate. Silverstein recommended 50 years on the murder charge in his written sentencing memorandum filed earlier this month with the court.
Maine does not have a death penalty law, but judges may impose a life sentence for murder in specific circumstances outlined in State of Maine v. John Shortsleeves, decided in 1990 by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. It lays out seven conditions under which a judge may impose a life sentence. One or more of them must exist for a convicted murderer to be sentenced to life.
— Murder accompanied by torture, sexual abuse or other extreme cruelty inflicted on the victim.
— Murder committed in a penal institution by an inmate.
— Multiple victims.
— Murder for hire.
— Murder of a hostage.
— A previous murder conviction.
— Murder of an on-duty law enforcement officer.
The judge found that the crime was premeditated and the way Locke was murdered included torture, sexual abuse and extreme cruelty.
Mailloux confessed to his cousin, police and other inmates at the Penobscot County Jail that he killed Locke because she wanted to break up with him, according to previously published reports. The prosecutor said that the victim had described Mailloux’s behavior to friends as “controlling” and “abusive.”
After calling 911 to report Locke’s death, Mailloux told police that he suspected Locke was seeing another man. Sometime after 7 a.m. Nov. 18, 2013, he discovered a text message on her phone that he said confirmed his suspicion, according to the court affidavit written by Bangor police Sgt. Tim Cotton.
Locke and Mailloux argued and he “manually strangled [her] to the point that he thought she was deceased,” according to the affidavit. “After a short time, Locke began to regain consciousness.”
He then bound Locke with wire cord and duct tape “for the entire morning,” the court document said. “During this incident, Locke admitted that she had been in another relationship.”
Locke had earlier told a sorority sister that she and Mailloux had broken up, according to a previous report.
Mailloux also told police that he sexually assaulted Locke while she was bound.
After another argument, Mailloux said he used a necktie to strangle Locke until she no longer resisted.
A photo of Locke’s naked body, bound and gagged with duct tape on the bed in the bedroom Mailloux said they shared, was found on Mailloux’s phone, the affidavit said.
Priscilla Locke said after the sentencing at an impromptu press conference that she wants people to remember who her daughter was and what she wanted to do with her life — work as an occupational therapist — not how she died.
“I want them to remember how sweet she was, how she loved life, how she was so caring. She loved to help people and education was important to her,” she said. “She just had so much to give and now she’s not going to have an opportunity to do that.”
Priscilla Locke said she planned to focus on raising money for a scholarship fund, created in her daughter’s memory, for Edward Little graduates who want to pursue careers in health care.
Mailloux faced between 25 years and life in prison on the murder charge. He faced up to 30 years on the kidnapping charge.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.