Brooke McLaughlin, 14, lived at this house on Blackberry Road in Mount Vernon with her boyfriend, Aidan Grant, when she was killed. Grant was sentenced on Monday to five years at Long Creek Youth Development Center for murdering McLaughlin. Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald file

WATERVILLE — A 16-year-old boy from Wayne was sentenced to five years at Portland’s Long Creek Youth Development Center on Monday after admitting to stabbing his 14-year-old girlfriend to death last year.

Aidan Grant, who was 15 at the time of the murder, will be released after he turns 21 as part of a plea agreement. The minimum sentence for an adult convicted of murder is 25 years in prison.

Brooke McLaughlin Courtesy photo

District Court Judge Andrew Benson said during Grant’s sentencing at the Waterville District Court that the outcome was “inadequate,” but unavoidable due to Maine’s laws on sentencing juveniles.

“In the adult system, the juvenile could spend the rest of his life in jail with no possibility of probation — and parole doesn’t exist in the state of Maine — while in the juvenile system he can only be detained until his 21st birthday,” Benson said. “The Legislature has offered no middle ground. It’s one or the other. There is no hybrid mixture of the two, unfortunately. If there were, the court’s decision would be much easier.”

Fourteen-year-old Brooke McLaughlin died last year after being stabbed 10 times during an argument with Grant at her mother’s Mount Vernon home, where the young couple lived.

After a discussion between Grant and McLaughlin about prior relationships escalated into a physical argument, Grant grabbed a steak knife and stabbed McLaughlin repeatedly before vomiting and fleeing in a red Chevrolet Impala that belonged to the girl’s mother. It was Grant’s 15th birthday. He would later tell investigators that he was smoking cannabis and drinking vodka at the time.


Benson said the case “compares to the worst homicides that I dealt with during my 15-year-career as a homicide prosecutor.”

The sentence came after Grant admitted his guilt for the first time since the trial began more than a year ago. Asked if he had “knowingly and intentionally” killed McLaughlin, Grant simply replied, “yes.”

Roughly 20 of McLaughlin’s family and friends were at the courthouse Monday for the sentencing. Seven of them delivered impact statements during the hearing, including Lisa Carter, McLaughlin’s aunt, who said she has had severe anxiety ever since the girl’s death. She also asked the judge to reverse course and try Grant as an adult, saying she believes “he will kill again” after his release.

“Such a beautiful, charismatic, loving, caring girl was stolen,” Carter said. “Ripped away, not by mistake, but purposely and deliberately by this evil being of a person. I know my sister, and I know she will haunt this boy for the rest of his life … I wish I could say justice was served here today, but even if this boy in front of me got life in prison I would not be satisfied.”

Grant sat motionless during the impact statements, facing away from the witnesses and burying his head in his hands.

The sentence came after the court deliberated for months over whether or not to try Grant as an adult. Assistant Attorney General Katie Sibley had previously argued that Grant should be tried as an adult due to the seriousness of the crime, while Grant’s court-appointed lawyer, John Pelletier of Readfield, said the crime was a “heat-of-the-moment offense” and that Grant is remorseful for what he has done. Benson ultimately decided that Grant would be tried as a juvenile.


“The court does conclude that in spite of the seriousness of the offense — and the offense could not be more serious — the juvenile has carried his burden of proving that it is not appropriate to prosecute him as an adult,” Benson said.

Sibley also sought roughly $18,000 in restitution on the McLaughlins’ behalf, but Pelletier said Grant would not be able to pay due to his age and lack of work experience. Benson agreed, denying Sibley’s request.

Benson said the decision was influenced by two psychologists’ analyses of Grant, which found that he was “a rising high school freshman” with no prior record of criminal offenses.

“The psychologists testified convincingly that at least until this incident, he was not impulsive and had no anger management issues,” Benson said Monday. “He had no mental health history, and he had been involved in what appeared to be a benign and nurturing relationship with the victim.”

Brooke’s mother, Becky McLaughlin, said during her impact statement that she lost not just her daughter, but a piece of herself too, and that she will likely never recover from her daughter’s death.

“I’ll never be able to see my child graduate from high school, get her license, her first vehicle, get married, bring her on trips we planned or take pictures with her,” she said. “I hate (Grant) for taking all the future moments with my daughter, watching her grow and succeed and fail in life.

“I hate him for making me a person that hates,” she added. “I’m a broken mother forever.”

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