BANGOR — The North Carolina man who shot two Millinocket residents as they begged for their lives will never be a free man again.
Just before convicted murderer Christopher Murray was sentenced to life behind bars Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center, he told the judge he was forced at gunpoint to shot the couple.
“The truth is this: That night a gun was put to my head. I was given the option of having my life taken or doing something I regret,” Murray said.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese said the prosecution didn’t buy it.
“We’ve never believed that to be true because it simply is not supported by the evidence,” she said on the steps of the courthouse.
Murray and Tony Locklear, also of North Carolina, both were convicted of murder in the shooting death of Wayne LaPierre. Murray also was convicted of elevated aggravated assault for shooting LaPierre’s wife, Diem, twice in the head — she testified against him — and for robbing the Millinocket couple of cash, jewelry and marijuana.
“Mr. Murray and Mr. Locklear came with guns,” Justice Robert Anderson said. “They came with materials to bind up the LaPierres’ with handcuffs and rope, I believe, so they came prepared to do exactly what they did.”
He added, “Perhaps the most dramatic moment of the entire trial was when Mrs. LaPierre was on the stand … She sort of burst out and pointed at Mr. Murray and said, ‘That’s the man who shot me. That man right there shot me.'”
Diem LaPierre lost an eye and lives with two bullets still in her head.
“I bet it was a big surprise for the defendant to find out Diem was a lot stronger than he figured on. He never counted on her surviving after putting two bullets in her head,” said Donna Trussell, sister of Wayne LaPierre.
One of LaPierre’s brothers asked why two people would kill over a minor robbery. Letters from the couple’s children were read before the sentencing.
Murray’s defense attorney asked the judge for a 30-year sentence.
“He regrets his involvement in the underlining case but still, obviously, believes he was not at fault,” Stephen Smith, Murray’s new attorney, said after court ended. He said they plan to appeal.
“Christopher Murray was sentenced to life in prison. In the state of Maine, life is life with no possibility of probation. Maine doesn’t have parole so he’ll serve the rest of his natural life in prison,” Marchese said.