2 life sentences for double murder; Kin give statement; terms consecutive.


Byline: Gary V. Murray

WORCESTER - A Webster man who shot three people in the head, killing two of them, was sentenced yesterday to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

"Rot in hell," Joselyn Mercier, the sister of two of Christian Muller's victims, yelled at Mr. Muller as he was being led from the courtroom after his sentencing in Worcester Superior Court.

Mr. Muller, 30, was convicted March 14 of shooting three people in the head during a July 9, 2007, home invasion in a third-floor apartment at 25 West Main St. in Dudley. Two of the shooting victims, Aaron Bash, 31, and Denise Johnston, 36, died from their injuries.

Mr. Bash's sister, Joanne Mercier, was also shot in the head and survived. She testified against Mr. Muller during his eight-day trial

Rejecting an insanity defense raised by Mr. Muller's lawyer, John H. LaChance, the 12-member jury found Mr. Muller guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, armed assault with intent to murder, three counts of home invasion and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Judge Richard T. Tucker sentenced Mr. Muller yesterday to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment without parole on the murder charges and to an additional 20 to 25 years on the home invasion charges. The other crimes drew lesser, concurrent sentences.

A conviction for first-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Hodgens asked Judge Tucker to impose the consecutive life sentences on the murder charges as a way of allowing the community to "express its condemnation" over Mr. Muller's crimes, which he said reflected "a very high level of brutality."

"The defendant essentially was almost standing in the doorway. No one was going to get by him. His victims were trapped and, one-by-one, he shot them each in the head," Mr. Hodgens said.

"This man is not human," Joselyn Mercier, the sister of Mr. Bash and Ms. Mercier, said of Mr. Muller in an impact statement.

"Aaron was a great person, and my sister is amazing," she told the court.

Ms. Johnston's...

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