A man sentenced to life in prison for brutally murdering an 18-year-old West Gardiner teenager in the early 1970s died Sunday morning at the Maine State Prison in Warren.

Michael Boucher, 71, died around 4:40 a.m., according to Anna Black, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Corrections. His death was attended by medical personnel, but Black did not provide a cause of death.

Michael Boucher Maine Department of Corrections

The Maine Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner were notified of Boucher’s death, a step that is consistent with Department of Corrections policy whenever there is an inmate death.

Boucher was sentenced in 1991 to life in prison for the murder of Debra Dill. The murder took place in 1973, but Boucher was able to elude authorities for years before he was captured and sentenced.

Police said that Dill was driving alone and returning from the Lewiston Fair on Sept. 16 when Boucher ran into her car with his own, forcing her to pull over to the side of Whippoorwill Road in Litchfield. He then sexually assaulted her and beat her to death with a hammer. Her beaten and half-clothed body was discovered in the woods off Whippoorwill Road.

Because the crime occurred when the state still allowed murderers to seek parole, Boucher was eligible to request his parole every five years. So every five years members of Dill’s family was forced to relive the past and fight to keep him behind bars. Maine abolished parole in 1976.

The Maine Parole Board in 2014 denied his request after hearing from Dill’s family and supporters. The victim’s family handed in a petition signed by nearly 1,500 members of the community asking the board to deny Boucher’s attempt at parole.

“The day Debra’s grisly murder was discovered, the world as my family knew it was gone,” Kim Dill, Debra’s younger sister, told members of the Maine Parole Board in 2014. “Days turned to weeks, to months, to years, to decades.”

“Every time a parole hearing happens, all the emotional turmoil of those wretched days after the murder are relived,” Kim Dill explained. “The nightmare of brutality and cruelty, which no one should have to live through, are experienced by anybody and everybody whose life was impacted by Debra’s death.”

“If he is paroled, would you allow this man in your neighborhood, in your house, with your wives, daughters or sisters knowing his past history?” asked Cindy Dill-DiRusso, another of Debra’s sisters.

“We implore you to keep Michael Boucher behind bars for the rest of his natural life,” she begged the Parole Board.

Boucher also applied for parole in 2019, a request that the Parole Board denied.

Authorities who investigated the case said that Boucher strangled Debra Dill with his hands and beat her with a hammer after reportedly targeting her at random and then hitting her car with his vehicle in hopes of getting her to stop.

Boucher eluded investigators for 15 years, while he racked up a lengthy criminal record that included at least two convictions for aggravated assault as well as public indecency, theft and harassment. It wasn’t until Boucher was arrested in Connecticut for assaulting another woman that police found evidence connecting him to Debra Dill’s murder.

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