AUGUSTA — Lukas Mironovas, one of three teenagers accused of killing his mother, Kimberly Mironovas, in Litchfield last year, was sentenced Thursday to 33 years in prison.

Kimberly Mironovas sits at a station at Aveda Institute Maine, a cosmetology school in Augusta. Photo courtesy of Anthony Coco

Mironovas, 16, previously waived his right to argue he should be tried as a juvenile as part of a plea agreement with state prosecutors.

Based on that agreement, Mironovas pleaded guilty to murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges.

Assistant Attorney General Meg Elam said the state agreed that if Mironovas pleaded guilty, his sentence would be capped at 35 years, meaning he would serve at least 25 years but not more than 35.

Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced him to 33 years in prison, a length recommended by both Pamela Ames, Lukas Mironovas’s lawyer, and Assistant Attorney General Katie Sibley, the prosecutor.

Beth Hutchins, Kimberly Mironovas’s sister and Lukas Mironovas’s aunt, testified emotionally, saying the family loved both Kimberly and Lukas and had empathy for both the victim and the offender.

She said Lukas Mironovas suffered from mental illness, for which his mother and father sought treatment, but said that failed despite his parents having done everything they could to help their son.

Hutchins said Kimberly moved with Lukas to Maine to be closer to family, and he got off to a good start in Maine. He then had problems at school with some of his peers and was kicked out, causing him to be isolated.

“He was loved and accepted no matter what, but our love was not enough,” she said. “Lukas was in need of professional medical attention. And the steps my sister had taken revealed she did everything she could as a mother to help her son get well.”

Murphy said aggravating factors considered in sentencing Lukas included the impact on the Mironovas family, that the crime was premeditated and that Kimberly Mironovas suffered because she was conscious and aware of what was happening to her in the brutal murder.

Mitigating factors included Lukas Mironovas’ age — he was 15 at the time of the murder. Other mitigating factor included that Lukas Mironovas accepted responsibility by pleading guilty at the earliest possible time in court proceedings, his lack of a criminal record, and what Murphy described as a well-documented and extensive mental health history.

Murphy said he was first diagnosed as suffering from a mental health disorder when he was 5-years-old, and still struggles with mental health issues.

Ames said a mental health competency evaluation indicated Lukas Mironovas has a long history of mental health issues that impaired his ability to link consequences to his actions. She said his diagnosis included being on the autism spectrum.

His parents sought to get mental health treatment for him, Ames noted, but it was not effective. She said when he misbehaved at different schools, he would be kicked out or suspended and, therefore, he would move from one school to another, furthering his isolation.

“The system just failed, the treatment just wasn’t there,” Ames said in court. “He needed treatment. He needed to be in school. His brain does not connect the action to the consequences.”

Beth Hutchins, sister of Kimberly Mirovanos, reads a victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing for her nephew Lukas Mirovanos, who was sentenced Thursday at Capital Judicial Center in Augusta to 33 years for murdering his mothe. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

Hutchins said she wonders if it would have saved her sister’s life if Lukas Mironovas had been admitted into a psychiatric care facility the day he was suspended from school.

After he was kicked out of school in Maine, Hutchins said, Kimberly brought Lukas’ two friends — William Smith, then 15, and Thomas “TJ” Severance, then 13 — from Ashland, Massachusetts, where the Mironovas family used to live, to Litchfield. She thought this might help “alleviate the isolation he was experiencing.”

It was during that visit that Kimberly Mironovas was murdered.

On April 21, 2018, the three teenagers plotted to kill the 47-year-old, in part because they were angry with her for accusing them of stealing her marijuana, according to evidence presented in court.

When Kimberly came home from school April 21 — she was studying at Aveda Institute Maine in Augusta — she discovered the boys had stolen some of her marijuana. She grew angry with them and said she would not give her son’s friends a ride back to Massachusetts.

The boys discussed what they should do, and Smith suggested they kill Kimberly Mironovas, prosecutors said.

They discussed crushing her prescription pills and putting them into her wine to make her lose consciousness, then cutting her wrists to make it look like suicide. They later rejected that idea out of concern the pills would not dissolve fully.

They eventually decided to choke her until she was unconscious and then stab her in the throat, according to court testimony.

Kimberly Mironovas went to bed early April 22, according to prosectors. Smith and Lukas Mironovas went up to her bedroom about 15 minutes later, while Severance, who had expressed reservations about their plan, remained downstairs.

Prosecutors said Smith and Lukas Mironovas choked Kimberly Mironovas, and Lukas stabbed her in the throat and held his hand over her mouth, causing her to lose consciousness.

A state medical examiner determined the causes of death to be strangulation and stabbing

Elam said the boys concocted a story, which all three initially stuck to when first questioned by police, that an intruder had entered the house and killed Kimberly Mironovas. Under questioning from police, however, all three later admitted to what they had done.

The three teens were arrested the morning of April 22, 2018, with Smith driving Mironovas’ car, and taken to the Gardiner Police Station, where State Police detectives interviewed them.

Hutchins testified in court Thursday that the Mironovas family believes that if “not for the overreaction of his friends,” Lukas Mironovas would have made different decisions and not killed his mother.

Hutchins also said Lukas Mironovas may have never considered killing his mother if the mental health system had not been slow to get him the help he needed.

“There are no excuses for taking another person’s life, but mental health issues negatively impact some individuals, through no fault of their own, and lead them to make poor choices,” Hutchins said. “Lukas is one of these individuals, and (that’s) the reason I have empathy for him in this situation.”

Lukas Mironovas was the last of the three teens to be sentenced.

Severance, 14, pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced, as part of a plea agreement reached with the state, to be committed to Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland, where he will be held until he is 21 years old — the maximum sentence for a juvenile.

A district court judged ruled in July that Smith could be prosecuted as an adult, following a bind over hearing to determine whether he would be handled in the adult or juvenile justice system.

Smith, 17, pleaded guilty to murder and conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced in November to 28 years in prison.

Mironovas, like Smith, is expected to continue to serve his time at Long Creek until he turns 18, when he will likely be transferred to the Maine State Prison.

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