A St. Albans man was sentenced Wednesday at the Somerset County Courthouse in Skowhegan to 27 years in prison after admitting he killed his uncle nearly two years ago.
Jeremy Erving, 26, pleaded guilty to murder in the shooting death of Randy Erving, 53, of St. Albans on April 7, 2016, in a plea agreement, according to the Maine attorney general’s office.
After his arrest, Erving told police his uncle was his best friend and he had no idea why he’d killed him after the two had been drinking all day, a court affidavit said.
“The plea agreement guaranteed a conviction for murder,” Assistant Attorney General Robert “Bud” Ellis, who prosecuted the case, said Wednesday in an email. “It also avoided possible issues or defenses that could have been raised at trial. It gave family members finality and an end to things without having to go through a trial.
“As [the judge] noted, this crime was totally inexplicable and he agreed that 27 years to the Maine Department of Corrections was an acceptable outcome,” the prosecutor said.
As part of the plea agreement, Erving withdrew his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Jury selection in his trial was scheduled to begin Thursday with the trial set for Feb. 26.
Defense attorney Philip Mohlar of Skowhegan said his client was satisfied that the case was concluded.
“Jeremy was very close to his uncle and he really struggles with why this happened, but he has always taken responsibility for it,” Mohlar said Wednesday afternoon.
Erving was stopped by Dexter police for suspected drunken driving at about 1 a.m. on April 8, 2016, while driving Randy Erving’s truck, with his uncle’s dog and a loaded rifle inside, according to the affidavit. Jeremy Erving’s blood alcohol level was allegedly 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent, at the time of his arrest.
Later that day, his uncle was found dead in his bed with a gunshot wound to the back of his head, the affidavit said. A single .30-30 shell was found on the floor nearby.
Mohlar said Wednesday that Erving was so intoxicated, he could only remember bits and pieces of what happened but not the entire shooting incident.
Erving faced between 25 years and life in prison on the murder charge. He had been held without bail at the Somerset County Jail since his arrest. That time will be applied to his sentence.
If Erving had gone to trial and been found not guilty by reason of insanity, he would have been committed indefinitely to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.
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