PORTLAND — A Windham man who contended he shot his wife thinking she was an intruder was sentenced to 40 years for murder on Friday.

The defense didn’t dispute that Noah Gaston killed his wife, Alicia, with a shotgun blast, but contended he thought the person climbing the stairs toward him in the predawn darkness was an intruder.

Prosecutors contended he intended to kill his wife or acted recklessly, and a jury convicted him of murder in November.

At the trial, an expert witness for the state testified the victim was close to Noah Gaston when she was shot in January 2016. The witness said a black mark on Alicia Gaston’s ring finger was soot expelled from the shotgun, meaning her hand was no more than 18 inches from the barrel.

A defense witness reached a different conclusion, contending Alicia Gaston was farther away, 1 to 2 yards, when she was shot.

The distance was important. Prosecutors said Gaston should’ve noticed his wife was not in the bed and that she would’ve been close enough for him to recognize her. Family members also testified that the couple had been fighting in the days before the shooting.

Their three children were in the Windham home at the time. Their 8- and 9-year-old daughters told police they heard arguing before the shooting.

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