Man convicted of killing girl, 4, in oven wants new trial

John Lane, 66, is currently serving a life sentence for cooking a 4-year-old girl in an oven because he thought she was a demon (Maine Department of Corrections)

A federal magistrate says a Maine man convicted of killing a 4-year-old girl by placing her in an oven should be allowed to argue he was too mentally ill to file a timely appeal.

The judge's recommendation provides a possible avenue for 66-year-old John Lane to seek a new trial three decades after he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

The Auburn man was convicted of murder in 1985 for placing Angela Palmer in an oven, turning up the heat and blocking her escape by putting a chair under the handle of the oven door.

Lane contends his lawyer was ineffective and says drugs provided in prison left him "cognitively diminished, if not incapacitated." The state attorney general will seek to uphold his conviction and sentence.

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This story has been corrected to show that crime was three decades ago, not two decades ago.
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