Inmate sentenced to life for killing man with guitar
Rockland — Against the advice of his attorneys, a Maine State Prison inmate pleaded no contest to killing a fellow inmate with a guitar and attacking another man with a shovel.
Guy E. Hunnewell III, 42, was sentenced to life in prison by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm April 1 for the beating death of 57-year-old Alan Powell in June 2013. Hunnewell did not want his counsel, Philip Cohen and Jeremy Pratt, to make a statement on his behalf, or argue for a lesser sentence.
Powell was sentenced in 1989 to life in prison for strangling a woman to death.
Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said the state would have called witnesses, including two corrections officers and an inmate, to testify Hunnewell struck Powell multiple times in the head and face with an electric guitar while the two men were in the recreation yard.
Hunnewell originally pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His trial was previously set for fall 2014. A psychiatric evaluation revealed Hunnewell was competent to stand trial, said forensic psychologist Andrew Wisch.
Zainea said witness accounts and video footage would show Powell was first struck by Hunnewell while he was sitting in a chair, playing an acoustic guitar. Witnesses said Hunnewell was swinging the guitar over his head and striking Powell, continuing to do so when Powell collapsed to the ground.
When a corrections officer entered the recreation room, she saw Powell laying face down in a pool of blood. When the officer handcuffed Hunnewell, he apologized to her, saying he did not want to kill Powell during her shift, but that he had to because Powell was conspiring against him with another officer, said Zainea.
Hjelm said it was an unusual circumstance that Hunnewell did not want to make a statement when exposed to a life sentence, but said he had to make a decision on sentencing with the facts presented. Hjelm called the murder of Powell an unprovoked and vicious attack, where the victim had no means to protect himself.
Hunnewell was sentenced to five years in prison for the aggravated assault charge for striking inmate James Brensingerin January 2013 with a steel shovel while the men were using the tool to scrape wax from the tile floor in their pod. Brensinger has filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court against Hunnewell and the prison in connection with the beating.
Hunnewell was convicted in Somerset Superior Court in 1999 for killing his former girlfriend. He was sentenced to serve 40 years for her 1997 murder.
In 2004, he was convicted of aggravated assault against another inmate and for trafficking in prison contraband.
Hunnewell was also ordered to pay $2,400 to the Powell family to reimburse funeral expenses.
Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.