SKOWHEGAN – An image of Louise Brochu emerged in Superior Court on Friday as family members described a self-styled, hardworking woman who wore overalls and a big smile, with a red bandana tied around her head.

Those recollections came during the sentencing of Jeffrey LaGasse of New Portland, a one-time employee of Brochu, who pleaded guilty last month to murdering her in June 2007.

LaGasse, 31, was sentenced to 30 years in the state prison under an agreement between his attorneys and prosecutors.

“Justice has been served,” said Brochu’s brother Luke Brochu of Bangor. “That’s what we were looking for during this whole process. We’d like to have our sister back, but that’s not realistic. We’ll never get our sister back. Our family will never be the same.”

The body of Louise Brochu, 50, was found on June 8, 2007, under a pile of roofing metal in the mill yard at New Portland Wood Flooring, her business on Route 27, next to her home.

Court records indicate that she died from head wounds, including cerebral hemorrhaging, as well as multiple injuries to her torso and extremities.

LaGasse, who lived on the second floor of the old Wire Bridge Diner in New Portland, near Brochu’s home and business, told police that Brochu was missing. In subsequent interviews with Maine State Police detectives, he changed his story three times about where he was the night she died. That led to his arrest on a murder charge.

He initially pleaded not guilty, but last month changed his plea to guilty, setting the stage for Friday’s sentencing.

Jeffrey Toothaker, an Ellsworth lawyer who represented LaGasse, said his client changed his plea after authorities learned of statements he had made in jail while awaiting trial.

Toothaker said those statements could have been used against LaGasse at trial. He said Brochu’s death was “probably a robbery gone bad.”

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said in May that the 30-year sentence came with the change of plea because of the uncertainty of going to trial without hard forensic evidence against LaGasse. In Maine, the sentence for murder is 25 years to life in prison.

About 40 members of Brochu’s family filled the gallery in Superior Court on Friday, many of them wearing Brochu’s signature red bandana. Brochu had seven brothers and sisters, a daughter and many nieces and nephews.

Her niece Ryan Hemingway remembered her aunt, who as a young woman rode a bicycle with a couple of her female friends all the way from Jackman, where she was raised, to Alberta, in western Canada. A tree has been planted in Jackman, in northern Somerset County, in her memory, she said.

“She was a comedian and a storyteller,” Hemingway said. “She raised a beautiful daughter — Emily was her greatest pride and joy.”

LaGasse sat at the defendant’s table, dressed in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, his hands cuffed to a leather belt at the waist, his ankles in shackles. He looked straight ahead, expressionless.

Luke Brochu told the court that he is searching deep within himself to try to forgive LaGasse. “It’s the only way to be free of his grasp on my life,” he said.

LaGasse declined to address the court or the Brochu family when given the opportunity by Justice John Nivison.

LaGasse cast a final look over his left shoulder, then turned away as he was led out of the crowded courtroom by court security.