For Immediate Release - December 17, 2010

Maxson Pleads Guilty To Motor Vehicle Homicide

Christopher Maxson, 20, of 140 Elm St., Marblehead, pleaded guilty this morning in Salem Superior Court to a charge of motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of alcohol and operating negligently in the death of Julia Gauthier, 19, of Salem.

Judge David Lowy sentenced Maxson to 3-4 years in state prison. Essex Assistant District Attorney Michael Patten urged the court to sentence Maxson to 5-7 years in state prison, while defense attorneys John Andrews and Lawrence McGuire asked the judge to sentence Maxson to 2 ½ years in the House of Correction.

Prosecutor Patten told the court that on the evening of March 21, 2010, Maxson was drinking alcohol at a house party in Lynn. He and Gauthier, who was his girlfriend, left the party and got into Maxson's Toyota SUV, with Maxson behind the wheel.

The defendant, who was speeding, ran a stop sign and was clipped by another vehicle which had the right of way. Maxson's vehicle then bounced off of two parked cars and rolled over twice, coming to rest against a third vehicle. Gauthier was ejected through the sun roof, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The host of that underage drinking party, Craig Snow, 20, of 471 Essex Street, Lynn, is charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor. His case is scheduled for trial on February 15.