A Windham man was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison for murdering his wife early in 2016.

Noah Gaston was convicted in November after jurors concluded he committed murder when he shot his wife, Alicia Gaston, with a shotgun as she climbed the stairs of the couple’s Windham home. Gaston had argued that he shot his wife after mistaking her for an intruder in the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 14, 2016. Prosecutors said he either meant to kill her or shot her knowing it was her on the steps.

Alicia Gaston Press Herald file photo

Gaston was initially tried in February 2019, but Judge Michaela Murphy declared a mistrial when, as the trial got underway, the state medical examiner said he needed to change a phrase in his autopsy report.

In the second trial in November 2019, the defense only called one witness, a former medical examiner who is now a private consultant. He disputed some of the prosecution’s ballistic evidence. In the trial, there was a full-size replica of the staircase where Alicia Gaston died. Forensic experts for the prosecution and defense offered differing opinions about how far apart on the dark stairway the two were when Alicia Gaston was shot by her husband.

Jurors could have convicted Noah Gaston of murder or manslaughter, or neither.

Murphy handed down the sentence Friday for the murder conviction.

Alicia Gaston’s family released a statement to the Press Herald that said they “still miss Alicia beyond words.”

“We feel as though the sentencing today was fair. We hope that we can now begin to grieve without the worry of justice for this horrific crime. We would also like to thank Michelle Cram, the victim’s advocate, for her support, the Maine State Police, especially Detective Ross and Detective Rose, and (prosecuting attorneys) Meg Elam and Paul Rucha for their pursuit of justice,” the family said in a statement.

Noah Gaston’s attorney, Rob Andrews, said in an email response to the Press Herald that his client intends to appeal the sentence and the verdict. Andrews had requested a 25-year sentence.

Prosecutors had asked for a 40-year sentence in the case. The maximum sentence for murder in Maine is life imprisonment, the minimum is 25 years.

Gaston did not testify during his trial and he reacted emotionally after the verdict, bowing his head and leaning on his palms on the table in front of him. As he was led from the courtroom, he said, “I’m only trying to protect my family.”

 

 

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