Justice for Joyce: Guilty Verdict Closes Nearly 40 Year Chapter for McLain Family

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The man accused of killing 16-year-old Joyce McLain of East Millinocket in 1980 has been found guilty of murder.

The verdict nearly 40 years in the making was read in front of a packed courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor Thursday.

No one happier than Joyce's mother, who has spent most of her life fighting for justice for her daughter.

If you could speak to Joyce now, what would you say to her?

"We made it girl. We made it. We've done this together."

Closure for Pam McLain came more than 30 years after her daughter Joyce was brutally murdered in East Millinocket.

"My family and friends have always been there, 37 1/2 years long," said McLain. "That's the truth."

"She was the love of our lives. It's closure for Mr. Fournier. He's going where he should have been."

Over the years, Philip Fournier gave conflicting accounts to police.

Even after his arrest, testimony heard during the trial confirmed there was no forensic evidence tying him or anyone to the crime scene.

But Justice Ann Murray said reasonable guilt could be found from what Fournier said...

"The defendant's confession to Pastor Thomas and his mother and stepfather."

What he knew about the crime scene...

"His knowledge that it was the wrong time of the month to have sex with Joyce."

And what he did...

"And Mr. Fournier's attempt to kill himself within hours of Joyce McLain's death causes the court to find that the state has proven the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The court finds the defendant guilty."

"We're elated with the verdict," said Leanne Zainea, Assistant District Attorney. "You know we've been doing homicide cases for a while now, and this is an important case for the family and the community."

"My client is obviously quite upset," said Jeff Silverstein, Fournier's defense attorney. "Her decision today finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt stands in stark contrast to 35 years worth of the police, who diligently worked this case, who felt there wasn't even probable cause to arrest."

For nearly 38 years, Joyce's picture hung in the window of her mother Pam's home, a constant reminder that justice had not been served for her daughter.

But Pam McLain never gave up hope. Now, at the age of 71, she can finally close that chapter.

"Go home and start a different chapter," said McLain. "You'll never see a happier mother than this one is right here right now."

Pam McLain says she harbors no hatred for Philip Fournier and his family. If they are willing, she hopes to meet with them.

Fournier's lawyer says he plans to appeal.

Fournier will be sentenced at a later date.