A Canaan man sentenced to serve 55 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend in 2006 died at the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston Thursday morning.

Shannon Atwood

Shannon Atwood, 53, began serving his sentence in 2009, with his earliest possible release date in August 2054, the Maine Department of Corrections said in a statement. The department didn’t give a cause of death but said medical personnel were present when Atwood died.

Atwood was convicted of bludgeoning 38-year-old Cheryl Murdoch to death in the summer of 2006. Trial testimony revealed that Atwood beat Murdoch to death on the day he promised to drive her across the country from their home in Canaan so that she could bring her 14-year-old daughter back to Maine from Arizona. Murdoch’s body was found a month later in a brush pile in woods about five miles from their home.

Atwood had a lengthy criminal record that included two assault convictions.

He began dating Murdoch shortly after his wife, Shirley Moon-Atwood, disappeared. He was charged in Moon-Atwood’s death, but the charges were later dropped.

Moon-Atwood was last seen in April 2006. Her body has not been found.

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