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Murder in Maine mixed Satan worship and drugs

By JON FLEMING

SANFORD, Maine -- The bizarre story of a devil worshipper who killed a 12-year-old girl began last year when Scott Waterhouse walked into a bookstore and bought a copy of the 'Satan Bible.'

It ended last week when a jury convicted Waterhouse, 18, of luring Gycelle Cote into the woods and strangling her 'for the heck of it.'

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Between the time Waterhouse bought the book and his conviction, he experimented with LSD, got heavily involved in devil worship, became obsessed with a 15-year-old girl and threatened to kill her, and, finally, murdered Cote.

'The Satanism bit ... just changed him,' Doug Waterhouse, the killer's brother, said after the trial.

It was sometime last year that Waterhouse, then a junior at Sanford High School, bought the 'Satanic Bible,' by Anton S. LaVey of The Church of Satan in San Francisco.

He studied it and started calling Satanism his 'religion.'

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'I just started questioning things. I see certain things and I say, if there's a God, why are these things happening,' Waterhouse said in a tape recorded interview with police played at the trial.

Waterhouse explained the principles of Satanism as doing whatever feels good: 'Whatever floats your boat, turns your crank.'

His beliefs allowed taking drugs. Friends and investigators said Waterhouse smoked marijuana and experimented with LSD.

His 'religion' had limits -- 'Satanism doesn't advocate killing people,' Waterhouse said -- but he disobeyed that rule.

The thin, quiet drummer in the high school band wrote letters to a 15-year-old girl who also played in the band, but the letters were not allowed into evidence.

Investigators submitted them to the court, however, as part of an affidavit seeking a warrant to search Waterhouse's house and school locker. State police said in the affidavit they examined the handwriting and concluded Waterhouse wrote the letters.

In the first letter, the writer asked the girl to meet him. When she didn't show up, he sent another in which he said: 'I will get my rightful due, my dear, and you will be repaid for this.'

The final letter was placed in the girl's flute case four days before the Cote killing. 'Make the best of your every waking moment from now on because your days are numbered,' it read.

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It also urged the girl to wear a 'purple top' and 'purple socks.' 'If you did, it would look great,' he said.

On April 29, Gycelle Cote didn't show up for dinner. Police began searching.

The next morning, they found her at the edge of the Mousam River, half in the water, covered with leaves and sticks. She was killed a few hundred yards from her house.

Cote was wearing a purple blouse. There was no evidence of a sexual assault.

In closing arguments, Assistant Attorney General Michael Westcott theorized Waterhouse lured Cote into the woods.

'He got (Cote) to think they were playing a game and got her to the point where he tied her wrists and she was at his mercy,' Westcott said. 'When she was defenseless, he killed her.

'The truth is that the defendant murdered Gycelle Cote for the heck of it,' Westcott told the jury.

Attorneys on both sides believe testimony about Waterhouse's Satanic beliefs was important in winning a conviction. The defense and prosecution disagree, however, about whether it was relevant.

'It was important in the sense that it showed a bias on the part of the defendant which was basically immoral, self-centered and basically says no moral codes hold true,' Westcott said.

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But defense attorney Ronald Caron had a different view.

'He believed in (Satanism). That doesn't make him a murderer,' Caron said.

Waterhouse is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 14 and plans an appeal. He faces 25 years to life.

The case spawned rumors that Sanford, an industrial mill town of 18,000 in the southern corner of Maine, had a Satan cult and that Cote was killed as part of a devil worship ritual.

But the trial showed Waterhouse acted alone and there was no ritual involved. But questions remain about a cult.

After Waterhouse was arrested, police charged seven adults and 10 juveniles with criminal mischief for telling people they were on a list of those who would be killed Halloween night.

Halloween came and went without incident.

Police Chief Arthur Kelly said the town is relieved the trial is over, and he's convinced the threats and rumors were no more than a prank that got out of hand.

'We have not found any evidence of an organized cult,' Kelly said.

Arthur DeMattia, a friend of Waterhouse's and avowed devil worshipper, was cryptic when asked about the existence of a cult.

'I don't know. There could be one,' DeMattia said.

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