Micheal G. Simoneau, 17, was sentenced yesterday by an Arlington Circuit Court judge to 35 years in prison for the bludgeon murder of a homosexual as the Iwo Jima Memorial two years ago.
Judge Charles H. Duff sentenced Simoneau to serve concurrently 35 years for murder and 10 years for the attempted robbery of Ronald J. Pettine, a campaign aide to Rep. Morris K. Udall (D-Ariz) when Udall ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1976. Pettine was slain after committing homosexual acts at the memorial.
Simoneau will be eligible for parole in slightly-less than 9 years. The maximum penanlty for first degree murder is life and for attempted robbery 10 years.
According to testimony, Simoneau had bragged to friends after the slaying on Oct. 2, 1976, that he and two other had ripped off Pettine's clothing and abused his sexual organs and that Pettine was beaten with a tree limb. Simoneau testified that he went to the memorial to "smack around a few queers."
Before imposing the sentence Duff called the murder "cruel, callous and brutal" and said "the facts of the murder would clearly support the maximum sentence under the law" except for three mitigating factors. Those factors, Duff said, were that Simoneau was only 16 at the time of the murder, he did not strike the fatal blow and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kenneth Melson stipulated that the Arlington County jail chaplain spoke highly of the youth's remorse and religious interest while in the jail.
Simoneau's mother, Josephine Vera, testified that her son is "just a normal boy, like any other boy and especially good to me."