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Anchorage killer sentenced to 99 years

Posted: Tuesday, September 09, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) An Anchorage man who killed as a teenager was sentenced to 99 years for murdering his lover.

Edward Soeth 39, said he was sorry for strangling Cynthia Maughs, 44, on July 5, 2002. But he's killed before and said he's been sorry before, said Superior Court Judge Mike Wolverton Monday as he handed down the sentence.

An Anchorage jury convicted Soeth in April of first-degree murder for strangling Maughs after she berated him for skipping work and getting drunk.

Maughs worked as a server at the Hilton Hotel and had largely supported Soeth during their nine-year relationship, according to testimony at his trial. She pushed Soeth to go into rehab programs, to keep a job, to better his life the way he always said he wanted to.

During the trial, defense attorney Dan Lowery said she pushed too hard on the day of the killing. Soeth, drunk and plagued by a toothache, snapped and killed her in a fit of unthinking rage, Lowery said.

His trial focused on whether he meant to kill her.

Prosecutor Adrienne Bachman pointed out that Soeth wrapped a shirt around Maughs' neck, stepped on one end to hold it tight and pulled on the other end until she was dead. Jurors concluded the murder was deliberate, which left Wolverton with sentencing options from 20 to 99 years.

Attorneys argued Monday over his chances for changing.

Bachman said the best indicator of what a man will do in the future is his past. When he was 15, Soeth shot his best friend to death.

Soeth told Wolverton it was an accident, but the judge corrected him. The record indicates Soeth decided to teach a lesson to some friends who were giving him a hard time, so he put three cartridges in a handgun and fired it at his friend's head, Wolverton said. Soeth was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served three months in a juvenile facility.

The defense requested a sentence of about 50 years.

Wolverton, however, said Soeth demonstrated a lack of initiative and follow-through in treatment, employment and his personal relationships. He has killed twice, Wolverton said, and his chances of rehabilitation are ''guarded.''

Soeth can apply for parole after he serves 33 years.



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