Austin McDevitt enters a courtroom at the Waldo Judicial Center in Belfast where he pleaded guilty to the March 2019 shooting death of Shane Sauer in Swanville. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

A Morrill man has been sentenced to 29 years in prison after pleading guilty to the March 2019 murder of a romantic rival.

Austin McDevitt, 24, was sentenced Friday in the shooting death of 26-year-old Shane Sauer. His defense attorney, Rick Morse of Rockland, and Assistant Attorney General Lisa Bogue had previously hammered out the joint-sentencing recommendation for McDevitt to serve 29 years in prison and pay nearly $1,500 in restitution to the Maine Crime Victims’ Compensation Program.

According to WABI, during his sentencing McDevitt made a tearful statement to the family of Sauer, saying he would take it back if he could.

If the case had gone to trial, the state would have relied on the testimony of Jean Howard, the woman who had been romantically involved with both men. Howard had been with Sauer for about three years and the couple lived together. They were going through a tough period at the time of the shooting, the prosecutor said.

Howard had renewed her friendship with McDevitt, an old high school boyfriend.

“Unfortunately, that relationship had rekindled into a sexual relationship,” Bogue said.

Howard had admitted to both men what was going on, and the situation caused a great deal of conflict, the prosecutor said. McDevitt shot Sauer after a fight between the two men in Swanville.

BDN reporter Abigail Curtis contributed to this story.