PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Portland man who admitted he strangled his girlfriend, cut off her head and set her body on fire in his apartment was sane when he did it, a judge ruled Friday.

In his ruling, Justice Roland Cole rejected an insanity claim from Chad Gurney, 29, in the May 2009 death of his girlfriend Zoe Sarnacki in his apartment.

Gurney, who was guarded in the courtroom Friday by two deputy sheriffs, showed no emotion when Cole announced his verdict.

Gurney admitted killing Sarnacki, but said he was insane when he did it.

Cole said Gurney was not psychotic on the day of the killing and he understood that his actions were wrong.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese said that under Maine law an insanity finding is reserved for “the sickest of the sick.”

“Chad Gurney is not a well man. Nobody has said that,” Marchese said. “But he didn’t kill Zoe Sarnacki because he was delusional or psychotic.”

Gurney did not react after Cole announced the verdict in the courtroom.

The defense had argued that Gurney was delusional at the time of the killing. Prosecutors countered that Gurney was angry because his girlfriend had slept with someone else.

Last month’s trial in Cumberland County Superior Court didn’t focus on whether Gurney killed Sarnacki. Rather, it focused on his mental state when he killed Sarnacki, mutilated her body and put her remains on a bed with a crucifix and other items before setting it a fire.

Gurney had waived his right to a trial by jury, leaving his fate to Cole, who issued the verdict Friday, two weeks after the completion of the trial.

In 2005 Gurney was a lacrosse standout and a student at Liberty University in Virginia when the team’s 15-passenger van crashed in Alabama. He suffered a head injury and some say he was never the same afterward. He eventually returned to Maine, where he lived off an insurance settlement.

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