February 6, 2013

For two killings, Maine man gets life plus verbal lashing

Joel Hayden, who killed his girlfriend in front of their young son, is told he is beyond rehabilitation.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Joel Hayden listens to comments from the families of murder victims Renee Sandora and Trevor Mills prior to his sentencing in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland on Tuesday.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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On Tuesday, Feb. 05, 2013, Patricia Gerber, left, mother of Renee Sandora, murder victim, breaks down as she speaks before Joel Hayden was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for killing the mother of his four children, Renee Sandora and his best friend, Trevor Mills.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

Hayden fled in Trevor Mills' Cadillac and was arrested after a high-speed chase with police that ended when he crashed the car in York County.

Blood and urine samples taken after the crash showed Hayden had marijuana, cocaine, oxycodone and hydrocodone in his system, according to trial testimony. The .45-caliber pistol that was used in the shootings was never found.

The jury needed just over an hour on Jan. 14 to find Hayden guilty.

The prosecutors from the state Attorney General's Office, Lisa Marchese and Donald Macomber, requested that Hayden be sentenced to 70 years to life in prison.

Hayden's attorneys, Clifford Strike and Sarah Churchill, sought a sentence of 50 years. They said Tuesday that they plan to appeal his conviction.

Justice Mills imposed the harshest sentence possible under state law. She said the murders were premeditated and showed extreme cruelty, especially in the case of Sandora, who was outside her home with her children, making a 911 call and unable to escape.

"She was aware of her impending death," the judge said. "Her fears for herself and her children are unimaginable."

The judge said Hayden showed a "hostile, unstable character," retaliating against potential witnesses in the case, breaking a witness' hand and having another beaten and threatened in jail.

"The likelihood that Mr. Hayden would commit more offenses if released is overwhelming," she said. "Society does not have the ability currently to rehabilitate the mindset he brings here today."

Hayden declined to speak during the sentencing. For each day of his trial, he wore a shirt and a tie. For Tuesday's sentencing hearing, he wore a baggy yellow prison uniform, and a rosary around his neck.

As sheriff's deputies led him from the courtroom, Hayden turned toward the spectator section, where his mother and his victims' friends and families sat, and called out over his shoulder, "Pray for me like I pray for you all, alright?"

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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Amanda Moon, Renee Sandora's best friend, speaks before the sentencing of Joel Hayden for killing the mother of his four children, Renee Sandora, and his best friend, Trevor Mills.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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On Tuesday, February 05, 2013, Eleanor Mills, mother of Trevor Mills who was murdered by Joel Hayden stares at him as she speaks, before Hayden was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for killing the mother of his four children, Renee Sandora and his best friend, Trevor Mills.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

 


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