Gerald Goodale who was serving decades in prison after being convicted of Geraldine Finn’s death, pleaded guilty Thursday in the 1987 death of a second woman, Janet Brochu of Winslow. Above, Goodale is led in handcuffs by police after being arrested in June 1989 in connection with the murder of Finn. Morning Sentinel file

SKOWHEGAN — A man serving a 75-year prison sentence for the 1988 murder of a Skowhegan woman pleaded guilty Thursday in Somerset County Superior Court to killing a Winslow woman a year earlier.

Gerald Goodale, 63, an inmate at Maine State Prison in Warren, admitted to killing Janet Brochu and was subsequently sentenced to 32 years. He was previously convicted in the death of Geraldine Finn.

“Janet Brochu was killed 35 years ago,” Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews said in a statement. “Thanks to the diligent efforts of the investigative team — comprised of members of the Maine State Police Unsolved Homicide Unit (UHU), Major Crimes Unit Central (MCU-C), the Maine Attorney General’s Office, and the Maine State Police Crime Lab investigators who never gave up on this case — Gerald Goodale will be held accountable for his actions. We hope today’s guilty plea and sentencing brings justice to the Brochu family and helps them begin to heal.”

Because Goodale appeared in court Thursday for an arraignment, his guilty plea was a surprise to some people, including Ken Quirion, a retired state fire investigator from Winslow who was on the dive team back in 1987 when police were investigating Brochu’s murder. Quirion had met with the state prosecutors two weeks ago and was set to testify later this month in Goodale’s trial, he said.

“I was shocked,” he said when he learned of the plea. “I was like, wow, that changed quickly. I think it shocked everybody.”

Quirion said his dive team found evidence in the Brochu case after her death, on their first day of diving in the Sebasticook River in Pittsfield, but he could not reveal what that was.


Archived news clippings detail the story of Janet Brochu after she disappeared in 1987 and her body was found three months later.

“What we found was very important to the case,” he said. “That evidence was found, actually, very quickly, and we dove quite a few days after that.”

Brochu, who was 20 at the time of her death, was out with friends Dec. 23, 1987, in Waterville when she separated from the group and disappeared, police said at the time. She was last seen leaving a nightclub in Waterville at midnight in the company of a man.

Three months later, in March 1988, her unclothed body was found in the Sebasticook River in Pittsfield.

Goodale was arrested in 2021 in the 36-year-old case after unspecified new evidence was uncovered and presented to a grand jury. He was indicted in May 2021 by a Somerset County grand jury. Col. John Cote of the Maine State Police said in a statement at the time 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 Brochu and Finn cases were 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, 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 a suspect in the Brochu case.

Fern LaRochelle, Maine’s deputy attorney general at the time, argued for a life sentence for Goodale, and was convinced that Goodale had also murdered Brochu.

Gerald Goodale

Goodale, he said at the time, “has committed another very serious felony without remorse or regard for the victim’s family.” He said a presentence investigation assembled for Goodale’s sentencing noted investigators had recently questioned him about Brochu’s death.

“It says that Goodale told them that he didn’t do it, but that he knows who did. But he won’t tell who it was,” LaRochelle said.

Brochu lived with her parents, Geraldine and Albert Brochu, on Cushman Road in Winslow when she disappeared from T. Woody’s, a popular nightclub on The Concourse in Waterville.

“She left the house at 6 o’clock saying she was going to cash her check and go to McDonald’s,” Geraldine Brochu, Janet Brochu’s adoptive mother, told a Morning Sentinel reporter at the time.


Geraldine Brochu died at Mount St. Joseph nursing home in Waterville in 2015 at 87. Albert Brochu died at his Winslow home in January. He was 91. Janet Brochu was an only child.

Geraldine Brochu previously said her daughter, who was severely diabetic at the time of her disappearance, required insulin injections twice a day. She worked as a dietary assistant at the then-Seton Unit, Mid-Maine Medical Center.

Janet Brochu reportedly drank alcohol at T. Woody’s that night and was told to leave after bar attendants asked her for identification and discovered she was underage, her mother said police told her at the time. She left with two men and a short time later one of the men returned to the bar, picked up her pocketbook “and said he’d take care of her,” Geraldine Brochu told a reporter.

The state Attorney General’s Office, which brought the murder charge against Goodale in Brochu’s death, did not respond to a request for comment on the case.

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