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Moulton sentenced to 40 years for murders
PARIS — Richard A. Moulton, Jr. was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday for his role in the 2009 murders of Victor Reed Sheldon and Roger Leroy Day, Jr.
The sentence handed down in Oxford County Superior Court was the maximum allowed under an agreement last November in which Moulton pleaded guilty and would testify against others involved in the shooting deaths. His defense attorney, Ron Hoffman, argued for a 25-year sentence.
Before Hoffman spoke, Moulton read a statement apologizing to the victims' families and to his own. Through tears, he promised to use his time in prison to further his education, be a better father and become a productive member of society.
In 2009, Moulton, who lived in Mexico, arranged for his friend Eric Hamel of Mexico to kill Victor Sheldon and, if necessary, Roger Day. On Aug. 3, Hamel shot both men in Day's apartment on Pine Street in Rumford, where Victor Sheldon had been living.
Hamel's sentencing is set for Sept. 28.
Moulton later told investigators that his girlfriend, Sheldon's estranged wife, Gayla Sheldon, planned the murders. In July, Gayla Sheldon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and criminal solicitation. She will serve 15 years, with four years of probation afterward.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson said that by Maine's sentencing criteria, Moulton would be close to a life sentence, and that mitigating factors would bring him to about 50 to 55 years. The 40-year sentence offered in exchange for his cooperation was a good deal for Moulton, he said.
Citing standard sentencing guidelines, Benson said several factors made the crime more severe. Those factors included that the crime was premeditated, a dangerous weapon was used and the crime was committed for money.
In addition, Day was a “completely innocent bystander,” Benson said. Day was killed only because he was with Sheldon.
The impact to victims was “severe,” Benson said. He referred to Victor Sheldon's mother and Roger Day's father, who were present at the sentencing. “Neither of them will be able to touch or hold their respective sons ever again.”
Hoffman said 25 years would be more fair, considering the sentence Gayla Sheldon received. He said the woman masterminded the murder and used Moulton's love for her to manipulate him. She told him she was pregnant with his child, a claim she told Moulton was false after his arrest, Hoffman said.
Hoffman compared the case to Pamela Smart, a New Hampshire teacher who seduced one of her students and had him kill her husband. Smart got a life sentence, while the boy was sentenced to 28 years, later reduced to 25.
“This was an older woman who was much more worldly than Mr. Moulton,” he said. Moulton was 20 at the time of the murders.
Sheldon was 23. He had previously dated her when he was 14, but his parents told him to stay away from her. He said Moulton had “limited mental abilities.”
Hoffman said Moulton was Gayla Sheldon's “little puppet.”
She told him to enlist someone to kill her husband, and Moulton went to Eric Hamel, a friend from high school. Gayla Sheldon was going to pay Hamel $2,000 in monthly installments for the murder, Hoffman said.
Justice Robert Clifford agreed with Benson. Moulton received 40 years for each offense, to be served concurrently. Clifford said he was sympathetic to the mitigating factors, including Moulton's cooperation with investigators, but noted that he was “instrumental” in getting Hamel involved.
After the sentencing, Benson said he thought the sentence was fair, and that it would help bring justice to the victims' families.
“Obviously, nothing will ever bring back Roger Day or Victor Sheldon,” he said.
Moulton's father, Richard Moulton Sr., said his son was “a victim” of Gayla Sheldon.
“He was caught up in a situation he should have never been caught in,” Moulton's stepmother, Martha Moulton, said.