PORTLAND — Shawn Garland was sentenced this morning to 32 years in prison for killing Richard Meyers by stabbing him 97 times and then trying to dismember the body.

The murder occurred on Aug. 12, 2010, in Garland’s Grant Street apartment. Prosecutors said Meyers, 58, was stabbed nearly 100 times and then Garland tried to cut up the body to dispose of it.

After failing to cut Meyer’s spine, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said, Garland called police and told them he killed Meyers because Meyers was constantly belittling him.

Garland, 26, initially pleaded not criminally responsible due to insanity then changed his plea to guilty of murder in return for prosecutors agreeing to seek a prison term of no longer than 35 years. Garland’s lawyer, John DeGrinney, said Garland changed his plea against his advice.

DeGrinney said Garland suffers from schizo-affective disorder and other mental illnesses, but has been helped by the medication he’s received since he’s been in prison.

Zainea said police determined that the catalyst for the attack was Meyers rapping his fingers against Garland’s forehead and said the viciousness of the killing warranted a sentence of 35 years.

“For lack of a better term, this was a brutal rampage,” she said.

DeGrinney argued that the killing was mitigated by the stormy nature of the relationship between Garland and Meyers, drug and alcohol use by both men, Garland’s mental illness and Garland’s willingness to take responsibility for his actions.

DeGrinney had asked for a sentence of 25 years, the minimum in Maine for murder.

Cumberland County Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler said she agreed with DeGrinney that there were mitigating factors, but they were outweighed by the aggravating factors and agreed with Zainea’s characterization of attack as a “brutal rampage.”


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