BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A man charged with killing a teenager 37 years ago in Maine had a “crush” on the 16-year-old girl and later tearfully confessed to his pastor, parents and police that he killed her while she was out for an evening jog, witnesses testified.
Philip Scott Fournier made a tearful confession to his pastor about killing Joyce McLain and then told his parents and Bangor police the same thing.
But Fournier later told different versions of what happened, and his defense contends a traumatic brain injury could’ve affected his memories.
The 57-year-old Fournier is on trial in the 1980 killing in East Millinocket, where McLain disappeared when she went for a run. Her body was found two days after her disappearance, clothed only in her socks and running shoes. Her hands were tied behind her back.
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Fournier’s stepbrother, Sammy Powers, testified Thursday that Fournier had taken an interest in McLain, telling his brother he had a “crush” on her. He also testified that Fournier talked in his sleep about McLain, but the judge ruled that evidence will be disregarded.
On the day McLain went missing, Fournier stated out of the blue that he wanted to stop smoking and take up running, Fournier’s stepfather testified.
On the night of the disappearance, Fournier stole and wrecked a fuel truck, causing a severe head injury that left him in a coma for eight days.
The Rev. Vinal Thomas said Fournier tearfully confessed to him in May 1981, nearly a year after McLain’s body was found on Aug. 10, 1980. Thomas said he didn’t believe Fournier, so he called his mother and stepfather, to whom Fournier confessed again.
All told, Fournier was interviewed by police more than two dozen times throughout the investigation before he was charged in 2016.
His attorney, Jeffery Silverstein, contends the traumatic brain injury affected his memory and contributed to the differing accounts he has provided to police about his involvement or lack of involvement in McLain’s death.