ALFRED – A judge on Wednesday sentenced Derek Poulin of Old Orchard Beach to life in prison, calling him “completely and utterly remorseless” for bludgeoning and stabbing his grandmother to death and setting her body on fire in 2012.

Justice John O’Neil Jr. said that he would have considered a lesser sentence if Poulin had shown any sign of remorse about the death of 61-year-old Patricia Noel, either during his interview with police on Oct. 23, 2012, or in the courtroom during the trial.

Poulin, 26, showed no emotion during his sentencing in York County Superior Court. He only tapped a finger and wet his lips from time to time, as his mother, Cathleen Emery, sobbed while describing his childhood. His father, Reginald Poulin, turned to him and said, “I love you, D,” and Poulin showed no reaction.

Poulin, dressed in an orange jail uniform, sat silently during the proceeding, much as he did during his trial last month in the same courtroom, where a jury found him guilty of murder and arson in his grandmother’s death.

“I have struggled with this case from the moment I began hearing it, trying to figure out what happened and why it happened,” O’Neil said.

The judge said Poulin’s parents described a loving, caring son, but what he saw was something “chilling” when he watched a recording of an interview by a police detective and a fire investigator just hours after Poulin killed his grandmother.


“It demonstrated Mr. Poulin as being a cold, calculating person, trying to concoct an alibi,” O’Neil said. In the interview, Poulin calmly described errands he ran that day and the times he was in various places, which police disproved with receipts and surveillance video evidence.

O’Neil imposed the maximum sentence against Poulin on both charges, life in prison for murder and 30 years for arson.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, who prosecuted the case, said the evidence showed that Poulin first struck his grandmother with a golf club with such force that the head of the club broke off, then struck her repeatedly with a wrench and then stabbed her 72 times with a knife to her head, neck, chest, back, arm and leg.

“She was stabbed so many times from her head to her leg that the tip of the knife bent,” Zainea said. “It is difficult to imagine a more savage killing.”

Poulin then set fire to his grandmother’s body and her bedroom to destroy much of the physical evidence. When the first firefighters arrived at the burning home, Noel’s body was so burned they at first didn’t realize she had been killed before the fire.

Poulin and his father both lived with Noel at her home at 44 Wesley Ave. in Old Orchard Beach. Only they and Noel had keys to the house, and the doors were found locked when firefighters arrived at the burning building, witnesses testified at the trial.


Poulin’s lawyers argued at his trial that his father could have killed his grandmother, because his father could not account for where he was at the time investigators determined Noel was killed. Reginald Poulin invoked his Fifth Amendment right at the trial not to testify on grounds he could incriminate himself.

But Reginald Poulin spoke with passion at the sentencing hearing Wednesday about how he not only lost his mother, but also his son.

“It’s really difficult because I have nothing left. I lived with my mother, and I lived with my son. And that was the core of my life, and they’re gone,” Reginald Poulin said.

Poulin’s mother spoke in such a soft voice, sobbing and wiping tears from her face, that it was difficult at times to understand what she was saying as she appealed to the judge to spare her son.

“He was the most wonderful, gentle soul,” Cathleen Emery said at one point.

Poulin’s stepfather, Timothy Emery, who is no longer married to Cathleen Emery but remains close to the family, described Poulin as a “good kid” whom he raised from age 3 to 18.


“He was never in trouble. He always had a lot of friends. He was never angry. He was never violent,” Timothy Emery said. “I think I probably know Derek as well as anyone except maybe his mother, and there was nothing to lead me to believe he was capable of this behavior.

But Poulin’s cousin, Brian Burnham, who relied on Noel to help him with medical needs, asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence.

“My cousin should spend the rest of his natural life behind bars for what he has done. It’s unbelievable to think that my cousin did what he did to our grandmother and then burned her house down,” Burnham said. “I strongly feel that if he ever gets out of jail, he will hurt someone else.”

Noel’s brother, Stephen Kollar, told the judge that after Wednesday’s sentencing, Poulin would still face a judgment from a higher power.

“He will dance with the devil forever,” Kollar said.

Noel’s daughter, Darcy Daniels, said as she left the courthouse after the sentencing that it was difficult to sit through the trial and sentencing hearing, listening to her mother’s death described again and again.

“It was very hard to hear things that people were saying, but I’m grateful for what the judge did and that my mom now can rest in peace and our family can move forward,” Daniels said.

Poulin’s attorney, Amy Fairfield, had argued in court that Poulin should have been sentenced to 35 to 40 years in prison, but said afterward that “given the facts, I’m not really shocked by the sentence.”

Fairfield said Poulin plans to file an appeal, but another attorney will have to handle that because she does not do appellate work.

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