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Maine woman gets year in jail for hit-and-run death of Somersworth artist

Union Leader Correspondent

September 04. 2018 7:38PM
Lisa Devore appeared at Strafford County Superior Court in Dover Tuesday ready to serve jail time for the hit-and-run crash that killed Gail Burwen last year. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

DOVER — A Maine woman who struck and killed a Somersworth artist before fleeing the scene of the crash was sentenced to a year in jail Tuesday.

Lisa Devore, 32, of Kittery, Maine, hit 71-year-old Gail Burwen as she was pushing a Target shopping cart home while walking along High Street on the night of June 17, 2017. Despite the efforts of bystanders who tried to save Burwen before emergency rescue crews arrived, she died.

On Tuesday, Deputy County Attorney Timothy Sullivan told Judge Mark Howard at Strafford County Superior Court that after the crash, Devore tried to avoid being caught. It was four days before she turned herself in, he said.

“She was effective and successful in fleeing at a high rate of speed,” he said.

Sullivan said before the crash Devore and her boyfriend had talked about doing whip-its — inhaling nitrous oxide to get high — and planned to smoke a joint.

Devore also twice tested positive for fentanyl use in July, he said.

Kenneth Burwen, the victim’s younger brother, described Gail Burwen as a positive influence on his life. “She helped anybody. She was the most gentle soul. She still had a lot to offer the world,” he said.

A letter read in court from Somersworth police Lt. Matthew Duval described Devore as a “terrible person” who had no sign of remorse after the incident.

Duval wrote Devore didn’t shed a tear until she realized she would have to be held in jail pending arraignment.

Public defender Emily Roberts offered a different version of Devore to Howard. She described Devore as a hard worker employed full time at Ore Nell’s BBQ in Kittery, Maine.

Roberts said Devore has a child and pointed out the support she had in court from her boyfriend’s family.

Roberts read a letter of apology from Devore on her behalf.

“I feel there are truly no words to say how sorry I am,” Devore wrote.

After taking a short recess to deliberate, Howard said Devore took active measures to avoid being caught the night she killed Burwen.

“It is incomprehensible to me that any human being would not stop after that collision,” he said.

Devore will be eligible for home confinement after serving 120 days at Strafford County House of Corrections.

She also will be on probation for two years and her drivers license suspended for two years.

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