Gerald Goodale appears via video Monday in a court arraignment in connection with the 1987 murder of Janet Brochu. Zoom screenshot via Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

Gerald Goodale, the man charged Friday with murder in the 1987 cold case death of Janet Brochu of Winslow, appeared by video Monday afternoon in Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan, but his arraignment was postponed because he said he plans to use a lawyer who was not present.

Gerald Goodale is led in handcuffs by police after being arrested in June 1989 in connection with the murder of Geraldine Finn. Morning Sentinel file

Goodale, 61, an inmate at the Maine State Prison in Warren, was arrested last week in the 34-year-old case after unspecified new evidence was uncovered and presented to a grand jury, according to the Maine State Police.

Officials said Monday the indictment against Goodale was ready seven months ago, but the grand jury did not take it up until recently because of judicial delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Brochu, 20, was out with friends Dec. 23, 1987, in Waterville, when she separated from the group and was last seen at about midnight leaving T. Woody’s nightclub in The Concourse with a man. Three months later, in March 1988, her unclothed body was found in the Sebasticook River in Pittsfield.

A Somerset County grand jury indicted Goodale on Thursday. He is serving a 75-year sentence for the 1988 murder of Geraldine Finn of Skowhegan. State Police detectives met with Goodale on Friday to inform him of the charges in the Brochu case.

Col. John Cote of the Maine State Police said in a statement the indictment and arrest were the result of work by “state, local and county investigators, prosecutors and skilled scientists who never relented in their pursuit of the truth and for justice for this victim, her family, and friends.”

The indictment, obtained Monday from Somerset County Superior Court, says the grand jury charges that Goodale “did intentionally or knowingly cause the death of Janet Brochu, or did engage in conduct which manifested a depraved indifference to the value of human life and which, in fact, caused the death of Janet Brochu, all in violation (of law).”

The case is being prosecuted by the Maine Attorney General’s Office. The prosecutors are Lara Nomani and Megan Elam, both assistant attorneys general, according to office spokesman Marc Malon.

“We have no further information to provide at this time,” Malon wrote Monday in an email. “Questions about the arrest are best directed to Maine State Police.”

Janet Brochu in an undated photograph. Morning Sentinel file

The court has no police affidavit in the case, which would detail the evidence against Goodale because he was arrested and charged while in prison in a grand jury indictment. It was unclear Monday what evidence led to the indictment, which is dated Nov. 19, 2020, although the indictment did not occur until last Thursday.

Contacted on Monday with questions about the evidence and other details of the case, Shannon Moss, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said police could not release much more than what was in Friday’s press release, but “new evidence was developed through the work of the investigators and scientists working the investigation and that further details will become available as the case works through the court process.”

“I can confirm that Goodale was arrested in prison last Friday and the reason the indictment is dated November but the arrest happened last Friday was a delay in Grand Jury presentation,” Moss wrote in an email. “Covid delayed Somerset County from being able to have a grand jury until now.”

Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen presided over the virtual court appearance Monday at which Goodale appeared with lawyer Steve Smith. Nomani and Elam also were on hand, as was Jay Pelletier of the state police.

Mullen asked Goodale if he was advised of his arraignment rights, to which he replied he was. Mullen then asked if he had any questions about those rights.

“No, sir,” Goodale said.

Mullen read Goodale the indictment about intentionally or knowingly causing Brochu’s death or engaging in conduct that manifested a depraved indifference to the value of human life, saying the punishment for such crimes is 25 years to life.

“How do you plead, sir?” Mullen asked him.

Smith then interjected, noting he understood lawyer Jeffrey Silverstein would likely be retained by Goodale and that Silverstein might request a continuance of the arraignment before Goodale enters a plea.

Elam said she took no position on the request. Mullen then asked if anyone had a time or date when Silverstein would start the process. Goodale said he has a video conference with Silverstein scheduled for Friday. Mullen asked if Silverstein would represent him on a court-appointed or a retained basis.

“On a retained basis, your honor,” Goodale replied.

The Finn and Brochu murder cases are similar in that both disappeared from Waterville nightclubs and both were not seen again until their bodies were found.

Five months after Brochu’s body was found in the Sebasticook River in March 1988, Geraldine Finn, 23, left Pete & Larry’s Lounge off upper Main Street at the then-Holiday Inn in Waterville, with Goodale. It was Aug. 9, 1988. Her body was found five days later in a shallow grave off U.S. Route 201 in Skowhegan. She had been strangled.

Goodale was sentenced June 9, 1989, for her murder. At the time, he was also suspect in the Brochu case, with Fern LaRochelle, Maine deputy attorney general at the time, convinced he had killed Brochu.

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