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Man gets life sentence for '94 murder

DNA linked him to crime last year

Michael Hutchinson received a life sentence yesterday in Cumberland County Superior Court for a 1994 murder. Michael Hutchinson received a life sentence yesterday in Cumberland County Superior Court for a 1994 murder. (JOHN EWING/PORTLAND PRESS HERALD VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS)

PORTLAND, Maine -- A man was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for the murder of a 30-year-old single mother who was stabbed more than 50 times in her home while her 12-year-old daughter was in the next room.

It was the first life sentence recorded in Maine since 2004, according to the attorney general's office.

Michael Hutchinson, 32, of Bridgton was convicted in April of the murder of Crystal Perry on May 12, 1994. He was not arrested until May 2006 after being linked to the crime through DNA evidence. Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren said the savagery of the killing, combined with the crime's effect on Perry's family, Hutchinson's criminal history, and his lack of acceptance of responsibility, warranted a life sentence.

"My view is if any set of injuries warranted a description of butchery, this would be those," Warren said.

At yesterday's sentencing hearing, Perry's daughter, who was 12 at the time of the murder, told the judge how the murder has affected everything in her life. Sarah Perry, who lives in North Carolina, heard her mother's cries for help from her bedroom the night of the crime.

Perry told Warren that she feels ashamed she didn't wake up and save her mom and couldn't get the phone to work when she tried to call police after finding her mother's body.

To this day, when she thinks about her mother she thinks about her being raped and stabbed repeatedly.

"The fact I can't get beyond that is my life sentence," she said, looking toward Hutchinson in the courtroom.

Two of Crystal Perry's sisters and a brother also spoke at the hearing.

Hutchinson, who did not speak at the hearing, showed no outward emotion when Warren imposed the sentence.

Hutchinson's lawyer, Robert Andrews, said he will appeal the sentence. During the trial, Hutchinson testified that he had consensual sex with Perry before a stranger burst into her home, knocked him unconscious, and stabbed her to death.