CARIBOU, Maine (AP) — A Maine man captured on security video firing shots into his stepfather’s home was sentenced to 60 years for murder on Monday. The defense vowed to appeal.
A judge imposed the sentence on James Peaslee, of Easton, who was furious over a probate decision involving the estate of his late mother, Janet Hilenski. His stepfather, 79-year-old Paul Hilenski Sr., died in his Bridgewater home from a gunshot wound to the chest in January 2018.
Peaslee, who snapped at a witness to “stop lying!” during his trial, smirked after being sentenced and had a sarcastic retort for the judge before leaving the courtroom.
“Anything else you need, ol’ boy, to make you sleep at night? I just wanna make sure you can sleep at night,” Peaslee told Justice Harold Stewart, according to WAGM-TV.
A prosecutor said Peaslee was resentful over the handling of his mother’s estate. She died without a will in November 2015 after a car crash, and Paul Hilenski continued living in the home.
As tensions grew, Hilenski’s sons gave him the security system because of concerns over his safety, and the system captured the killing.
Video and still images showed a gunman walking up to the house, knocking on the door and firing into the home. Inside, Hilenski was seen slumping to the floor, where he died.
During the trial, an inmate testified that Peaslee told him he had gone to a convenience store to establish an alibi before changing clothes and going to the home with a gun. The testimony prompted an angry Peaslee to pound the defense table and shout, “Stop lying!”
Peaslee remained peeved over the trial testimony on Monday. “He lied. … I never once admitted to this crime,” he said while addressing the courtroom.
His attorney, John Tebbetts, told WAGM that there will be an appeal. “James’ plan at this point is to exercise every legal opportunity he has to maintain his innocence,” he said.
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