Belfast shooter pleads guilty to murder

Attorney General’s Office recommends 50-year sentence
Fri, 07/25/2014 - 10:15pm

    BELFAST —  The man accused of shooting two people last August, one fatally, appeared in Waldo County Superior Court July 21 to change his plea from not guilty by reason of insanity to guilty.

    Todd Gilday, 42, of Belfast, stood accused of murdering 55 year-old Lynn Arsenault (aka Lynn Day) and shooting her son, Mathew Day, at Day's home on Waldo Avenue Aug. 28, 2013.

    Gilday had reportedly taken offense to what he perceived to be an inappropriate relationship between Day and Linda Linscott. An acquaintance of Gilday’s would have testified that Gilday had talked to him Aug. 28 and that Gilday had seemed agitated that something “seemed to be” going on between them, reportedly saying, “It sure didn’t take [Linda Linscott] long to climb into bed with [Mathew Day].  Linda's daughter, Misty, was in a relationship with Mathew Day at the time of the shooting when she began serving a brief jail sentence for violating conditions of release.

    The courtroom was empty save reporters and court staff, until just before the scheduled 8:30 a.m. start time, when Mathew Day and a female friend slipped into the room, sitting in the last row near the doors. A court officer stood between the onetime friends as a shackled Gilday shuffled past.

    Gilday, who has been held at Two Bridges Jail since his arrest in Rockport the day after the shootings, was charged with intentional and knowing murder, aggravated attempted murder and aggravated assault. He faced a life sentence if convicted of the most serious offense by a jury.

    Justice Robert Murray July 21 set aside sentencing until Aug. 20. The prosecution has recommended a sentence of 50 years for Arsenault's murder and 15 years each for the lesser charges, to run concurrently to the lengthier sentence.

    The Waldo County District Attorney's Office also recommended an order for restitution in the amount of $3,028 to cover funeral and other expenses, which were incurred as a result of Gilday's actions.

    Gilday answered the many procedural questions asked by Justice Roberts in a clear and steady voice.

    Gilday was scheduled to go to trial Aug. 11 and Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea was asked to share with the court what evidence the State had planned to present.

    There were a number of people on the prosecution's witness list who would corroborate investigator accounts of what transpired that August day.

    Zainea said that it was just before 11 pm when emergency dispatchers received the first call, from a neighbor of Mathew Day's, who would have testified that on that night he heard two men arguing, followed by a "pop." The neighbor told authorities that after the first "pop" he heard a woman's voice say, "oh my God, you shot him," followed by another pop and then silence.

    What happened at the residence that night was violence not often seen in the Midcoast. Day and a friend were at his residence, where his mother, who resided elsewhere, was sleeping for the night. Gilday and Day had exchanged multiple texts about Gilday’s perception of Day’s relationship with Linda Linscott, ending when Gilday traveled to the residence to discuss the situation with Day.

    It wasn't until Gilday arrived that Day's friend spotted the shotgun he was carrying as he ran up the driveway, triggering motion detecting lights. Day's attempts to keep Gilday from entering the home failed and Day was shot after running into the living room, where his friend had hidden behind a sofa.

    Zainea said the friend would have testified hearing Day say, "you just shot me," before pleading with Gilday not to kill [he and his mother] and that Gilday had replied, "I'm killing everyone," before looking for others in the house. After hearing a car door slam, the friend dialed 9-1-1.

    Mathew Day, who was taken by a LifeFlight of Maine helicopter from Waldo County General Hospital to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for treatment of his injuries, also would have been called to testify, said Zainea.

    Day's testimony would have included details about the actual shooting, including when Lynn Arsenault came out of a bedroom. Day would have testified that he witnessed Gilday shoot his mother, who then fell to the floor. Day told investigators he attempted to render aid, but she was "bleeding profusely."

    Autopsy results indicating Arsenault died as a result of being shot through her arm and into her chest, where an artery was hit, would also have been presented to the jury.

    For his part, Gilday sat expressionless for the duration of the prosecution’s presentation of the evidence that would have been used at trial. The only outward sign of listening was a periodic tilting of his head from one side to the other.

    Afterward, Gilday spoke briefly to his attorney, Jermey Pratt, just before Justice Roberts instructed him to stand.

    "Let me ask you directly," Roberts said. "Are you satisfied [that] if the evidence were presented at a trial it would likely result in conviction?"

    Gilday answered in the affirmative, to which Roberts agreed.

    "The court is also persuaded," he told Gilday before officially accepting his guilty plea. 

    Gilday is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 20.

    Erica Thoms can be reached at