AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – A Maine man linked to a cold case murder by DNA evidence has been sentenced to life in prison.

Justice Joseph Jabar on Monday imposed the state’s maximum penalty on Thomas Mitchell Jr., who was accused of sexually assaulting and fatally stabbing Judith Flagg in January 1983 in the presence of her 13-month-old son.

Mitchell wasn’t charged until 2006 – 23 years after the crime – when testing revealed the presence of his DNA. He was convicted of murder in June.

Mitchell didn’t speak at Monday’s hearing in Kennebec County Superior Court, but his lawyer says Mitchell continues to maintain his innocence. At the time of his arrest, Mitchell was completing prison sentences for kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted murder.

Thomas Mitchell Jr. listens to Superior Court Justice Joseph Jabar in Franklin Coutny Superior Court on the first day of Mitchell’s murder trial. At left is one of Mitchell’s attorneys, Greg Dorr.

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