The man who was serving a life sentence for the murder of  a Colby College student 17 years ago died Monday afternoon at the Maine State Prison in Warren.

Edward Hackett Photo courtesy of Maine Department of Corrections

Edward J. Hackett Jr., 64, died around 1:20 p.m., and his death was not related to the coronavirus, according to a statement issued by the Maine Department of Corrections.

The statement did not specify a cause of death, but the Maine Attorney General’s Office, the Maine State Police and the Chief Medical Examiner’s office were notified, which is standard procedure whenever an inmate in state custody dies.

Hackett was convicted of murdering Colby College student Dawn Rossignol on Sept. 16, 2003. Rossignol, who was 21 and studying to be a pharmacist, was abducted and sexually assaulted after she left her dorm room. Her body was found a day later near a stream off Rice Rips Road in Oakland.

Dawn Rossignol

Rossignol’s murder made national news and shocked the Colby community.

When Hackett came to Maine, the 47-year-old man was on parole from the prison system in Utah, where he had been convicted of burglary and kidnapping. His attorney told the court at his sentencing that Hackett planned to commit a violent crime to get back into a structured prison setting.

Hackett was sentenced to life in prison on March 19, 2004.

In spring 2004, Colby College presented Rossignol’s family with an honorary bachelor of science degree, something the college rarely gives to someone who has died.

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