Convicted murderer gets 45 years for killing friend

7:47 PM, Feb 25, 2014   |    comments
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ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Almost a year and a half after the shots were fired, a man from Tenant's Harbor was sentenced to 45 years in prison today for murdering his friend.

Andrew Kierstead was convicted in November of killing Richard Mills in Cushing in September, 2012. Prosecutors say Kierstead went to Mills' house, hoping to buy or be given prescription drugs.

When Mills refused, Kierstead lured him outside and asked Mills to help fix his car. The prosecution says that was when Kierstead took a loaded shotgun from the car and shot Mills five times.

In court on Tuesday, Kierstead apologized for the first time, saying he didn't know why he shot Mills, and blamed his actions on his drug addiction. Mills' family said Kierstead had taken the life of a caring man and hurt the family's image in the community by wrongfully claiming Mills was a drug dealer.

Kierstead blamed it on his son's long trouble with addiction, and asked for a sentence short enough to allow Kierstead a "second chance" at leading a good life.

The state asked for a 45 year sentence, the defense asked for 25 years. Justice Jeffrey Hjelm said it had been a "cold blooded killing, and sentenced Kierstead to 45 years in the state prison.

Members of the Mills family thanked the judge, prosecutors and police, and said afterwards, "Although there are no winners in this senseless tragedy, we do find some comfort that justice was served. Richard was a kind, caring and loving man always willing to help people and asking nothing in return."

Defense attorney Steven Petersen called the sentence "harsh", and said he will appeal to the Maine Supreme Court.

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