Friends and family of two boaters killed in a 2007 collision spoke of their loss at a hearing Wednesday as Robert LaPointe was sentenced to 3 1/2 years at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.

“I want you to think of me when you walk your daughters down the wedding aisle,” said Terry Raye Trott’s daughter Charlotte Gillis tearfully to LaPointe at the hearing in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland. “Because that’s what you took from me.”

Trott, 55, and his girlfriend, Suzanne Groetzinger, 44, were killed Aug. 11, 2007 on Long Lake in Harrison, when LaPointe ran over their 14-foot Glasspar with his 32-foot Sunsation named “No Patience” just after 9 p.m.

LaPointe, 39, of Medway, Mass., received two concurrent five year sentences, the maximum for aggravated operating a watercraft under the influence, with 1 1/2 years suspended. He will have two years of probation.

District Attorney Stephanie Anderson said she was satisfied with the sentence, adding that she did not have plans to retry LaPointe on two charges of manslaughter and one charge of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon.

The jury that convicted LaPointe Sept. 24 after an eight day trial deadlocked on the manslaughter and reckless conduct charges.

“We gave it our best shot,” Anderson said. “I’ll go with what the jury decided.”

In his decision, Justice Robert Crowley called LaPointe’s lack of remorse “stunning.” He also named several examples of lies LaPointe told while under oath, including statements about how much alcohol he drank that day and how fast he was going.

“Clearly the defendant thinks the rules don’t apply to him,” Crowley said. “At the trial he blamed the victims.”

LaPointe did not speak for himself during the sentencing hearing.

While he said nothing, friends and family of Groetzinger and Trott spoke tearfully about the loss of their loved ones.

“Being only 15 when I lost my mother, I never really got to develop a full relationship with her,” said Jordan Edwards, Groetzinger’s son, said, standing next to his older sister, Alyssa Groetzinger. Edwards said he never got to meet his maternal grandmother because she died of cancer when his mother was only 11 years old.

“It’s sad to see my cousin and newborn niece, and if I ever have children, not meet their grandmother and aunt,” Edwards said.

Groetzinger’s daughter-in-law, Shelby Warden, was 3 1?2 months pregnant with her daughter Naeva when her mother-in-law died.

“Naeva has been denied ever knowing her beautiful grandmother,” Warden said.

Meg Harvey, a longtime friend of Groetzinger, turned and spoke directly to LaPointe, who showed little emotion during the proceedings.

“You will have your children,” Harvey said, her voice shaking.

“Your actions were all preventable,” Harvey added. “I hope someday you understand just what you have done.”

During the trial, Anderson and Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Norbert attempted to prove that LaPointe’s drunken recklessness caused the fatal boating collision.

Attorneys for LaPointe argued that he operated his boat safely at all times. They also argued that the navigational lights on Trott’s boats were off, which would have made it hard for LaPointe to see the smaller boat.

Jurors heard testimony from game wardens, state chemists, Long Lake residents and others. LaPointe himself took the stand, as well as the passenger in his boat, Nicole Randall.

Though both were thrown from the boat after the collision, neither Randall or LaPointe was seriously injured in the crash.

Though defense attorneys argued that LaPointe’s blood sample was not transported promptly to the state crime lab, jurors found sufficient evidence to convict him of aggravated drunken driving. With his blood alcohol limit at 0.11 percent three hours after the collision, state chemists estimated that it was between 0.11 and 0.18 percent at the time of the crash. The legal limit for operating a boat is .08 percent.

In her arguments for a five-year sentence, Anderson said she thought it was nearly inevitable that one or more people would have died that night as a result of LaPointe’s drunken recklessness.

As aggravating factors, Anderson pointed to LaPointe’s lack of remorse, failure to turn himself in at an appointed time, untruthful testimony under oath and prior traffic violations and license suspensions.

Anderson said LaPointe’s thrill-seeking and reckless behavior was evidenced by 23 speeding convictions, five convictions for failure to stop at a light or stop sign, 12 license suspensions, including two for being a habitual offender and nine other motor vehicle offenses, all in Massachusetts.

“Because of his actions, the lives of two people have been lost,” Anderson said. “Four years, I mean it’s nothing against the lives of these people.”

LaPointe’s lawyer, J. Albert Johnson, said his client had admitted personal responsibility, and pointed out he had no prior criminal convictions. Johnson said his client had a low chance of committing another offense and pointed out that he was married with two children.

Crowley turned down Anderson’s request for $69,192 to the Maine Warden Service for the recovery dive effort, which Anderson said would have taken significantly less time if LaPointe had admitted that he hit a boat and pointed out the exact location from the beginning.

LaPointe and his lawyers have 21 days to appeal the sentence or the conviction.

“It just is nice to know that justice can be done,” Harvey said after watching LaPointe board a correctional center bus in handcuffs. “For 3 1?2 years he can consider what he’s done.”

Emotions run high as boater sentencedMeg Harvey, who was a long-time friend of Suzanne Groetzinger speaks outside of the Cumberland County Superior Courthouse Wednesday evening after the sentencing of Robert LaPointe. Emotions run high as boater sentenced


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