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Lewiston man to serve 19 years for manslaughter

Trai LaRue told police he intended to stab the victim but didn't intend to kill him, prosecutors said.

LEWISTON, Maine — Editor's note: The video above aired Jan. 31, 2022.

A Lewiston man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the 2020 death of a Massachusetts man was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison with all but 19 years suspended.

Trai LaRue was initially charged with murder in the death of Roger Cornell, 21, of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Cornell was stabbed the night of July 29, 2020, in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant in Auburn Cornell later died at Central Maine Medical Center.

Under terms of a plea agreement, LaRue pleaded guilty to manslaughter in January.

LaRue was sentenced Monday in Androscoggin County Superior Court by Justice Harold Stewart, according to Assistant Attorney General Leanne Zainea.

Prosecutors said surveillance video from the McDonald's showed LaRue stabbing Cornell in the chest.

Zainea said Monday that allegations had been made the night of the stabbing by females about inappropriate conduct by Cornell.

"That seemed to be the impetus for the meeting at the McDonald's parking lot," she said.

She said the change of plea hinged on LaRue's intent that night.

"The defendant intended to stab Roger, who was a friend of his," she said. "He did intend to stab him, but he didn't intend to kill him."

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