ALFRED – A judge on Wednesday sentenced Derek Poulin to life in prison, calling him “completely and utterly remorseless” for bludgeoning and stabbing his grandmother to death and setting her body on fire in 2012.

Justice John O’Neil Jr. said that if Poulin, of Old Orchard Beach, had shown one sign of remorse about the death of 61-year-old Patricia Noel, either during his interview with police on Oct. 23, 2012, or in the courtroom during trial, he would have considered imposing a lesser sentence.

Poulin, 26, showed no emotion during his sentencing in York County Superior Court. He only tapped a finger and wet his lips from time to time, as his mother, Cathleen Emery, sobbed while describing his childhood. His father, Reginald Poulin, turned to him and said, “I love you, D,” and Poulin showed no apparent reaction.

Poulin, dressed in an orange jail uniform, sat silently during the proceeding, much as he did during his trial last month in the same courtroom, where a jury found him guilty of murder and arson in his grandmother’s death.

“I have struggled with this case from the moment I began hearing it, trying to figure out what happened and why it happened,” O’Neil said.

The judge said Poulin’s parents described a loving, caring son, but what he saw was something “chilling” when he watched a recording of an interview conducted by a police detective and fire investigator just hours after Poulin killed his grandmother.

“It demonstrated Mr. Poulin as being a cold, calculating person, trying to concoct an alibi,” O’Neil said. In the interview, Poulin calmly described errands he ran that day, stating times he was in different places that police disproved with receipts and surveillance video evidence.

O’Neil imposed the maximum sentence against Poulin on both charges, life in prison for murder and 30 years for arson.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, who prosecuted the case, said the evidence showed that Poulin first struck his grandmother with a golf club with such force that the head of the club broke off, then struck her repeatedly with a wrench and then stabbed her 72 times with a knife to her head, neck, chest, back, arm and leg.

“She was stabbed so many times from her head to her leg that the tip of the knife bent,” Zainea said. “It is difficult to imagine a more savage killing.”

Poulin then set fire to his grandmother’s body and her bedroom to destroy much of the physical evidence in the case. When the first firefighters responded to the burning home, Noel’s body was so burned they at first didn’t realize she had been killed before the fire.

Poulin and his father both lived with Noel at her home at 44 Wesley Ave. in Old Orchard Beach. Only they and Noel had keys to the house, and the doors were found locked when firefighters arrived at the burning building, witnesses testified at the trial.

Poulin’s lawyers argued at his trial that his father could have killed his grandmother, since his father could not account for where he was at the time investigators determined Noel was killed. Reginald Poulin invoked his Fifth Amendment right at the trial not to testify on grounds he could incriminate himself.

But Reginald Poulin spoke on Wednesday with passion at the sentencing hearing about how he not only lost his mother, but also lost his son, who is now going to prison for life.

“It’s really difficult because I have nothing left. I lived with my mother, and I lived with my son. And that was the core of my life, and they’re gone,” Reginald Poulin said.

Poulin’s mother spoke it such a soft voice, sobbing and wiping tears from her face, that it was difficult at times to understand what she was saying as she appealed to the judge to spare her son.

“He was the most wonderful, gentle soul,” Emery said in one point.

Poulin’s stepfather, Timothy Emery, who is no longer married to his mother but remains close to the family, described Poulin as a “good kid” that he raised from age 3 to 18.

“He was never in trouble. He always had a lot of friends. He was never angry. He was never violent,” Timothy Emery said. “I think I probably know Derek as well as anyone except maybe his mother, and there was nothing to lead me to believe he was capable of this behavior.”

But Poulin’s cousin, Brian Burnham, who relied on Noel to help him with medical needs, asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence.

“My cousin should spend the rest of his natural life behind bars for what he has done. It’s unbelievable to think that my cousin did what he did to our grandmother and then burned her house down,” Burnham said. “I strongly feel that if he ever gets out of jail, he will hurt someone else.”

Noel’s brother, Stephen Kollar, told the judge that after Wednesday’s sentencing, Poulin would still face a judgment from a higher power.

“He will dance with the devil forever,” Kollar said.

Noel’s daughter, Darcy Daniels, said as she left the courthouse after the sentencing that is was hard sitting through the trial and sentencing hearing, listening to her mother’s death described again and again.

“It was very hard to hear things that people were saying, but I’m grateful for what the judge did and that my mom now can rest in peace and our family can move forward,” Daniels said.

Poulin’s attorney, Amy Fairfield, had argued in court that Poulin should have been sentenced to 35 to 40 years in prison, but said afterward that “given the facts, I’m not really shocked by the sentence.”

Fairfield said Poulin plans to file an appeal in the case, but another attorney will have to handle that since she does not do appellate work.

Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @scottddolan


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