BELFAST — A Morrill man was sentenced to 29 years in prison in Waldo County Superior Court Dec. 4, after pleading guilty to knowing and intentional murder November 25.
Austin McDevitt, 24, drove himself to the Belfast Police Department following the March 15, 2019 shooting of Shane Sauer, 26, and reported the incident. McDevitt gave a full confession about the killing later the same day when interviewed by Maine State Police detectives.
McDevitt appeared pale at his December sentencing, entering the courtroom shackled and accompanied by his attorney Rick Morse.
The family and friends of Shane Sauer sat in a small section of the courtroom, carefully spaced to meet COVID restriction requirements, while across an aisle the loved ones of Austin McDevitt were seated.
Shane Sauer was killed after scuffling with McDevitt over a shared woman-of-interest, with Sauer ultimately being shot by McDevitt seven times. Three bullets struck Sauer in the head.
Victim impact statements were made to the court prior to sentencing, with three people speaking in total.
Shane Sauer’s mother read her victim impact statement first and spoke of the terrible impact Shane Sauer’s death has had on his family, in particular his father, who she said just couldn’t bear to come to another hearing about his son’s murder.
During her statement, she also addressed McDevitt, saying, “you and you alone got [the] gun,” used to kill Sauer. Sauer’s mother also said that she knew “Shane wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t deserve what he got.”
McDevitt’s aunt and mother provided statements on behalf of McDevitt, with his mother recalling a difficult childhood pockmarked with illness and bullying. McDevitt’s mother spoke of how McDevitt had been doing so well prior to the shooting, getting a job at Bath Iron Works shortly before the incident.
McDevitt’s aunt apologized to the Sauer family during her statement, something McDevitt himself did during his brief statement to the court.
Justice Robert Murray reviewed with the court the considerations taken when determining what is deemed an appropriate sentence, including the mitigating and aggravating factors of the respective case. One aggravating factor mentioned by Murray was the pain and anguish caused to Sauer’s family, while McDevitt’s decision to plead guilty in lieu of a trial was considered a mitigating factor.
Ultimately Murray agreed with the joint recommendation from defense and prosecutorial lawyers, sentencing McDevitt to 29 years in prison, which is four years more than the minimum sentence permissible by law.
*A previous version of this story incorrectly listed the date of the shooting as 2018 which has been corrected to 2019. Austin McDevitt’s lawyer was also incorrectly identified in the earlier version as Christopher MacLean and has been corrected to Rick Morse.
Erica Thoms can be reached at email@example.com