A federal judge says a man should seek a new trial two decades after a jury convicted him of killing a 4-year-old girl by cooking her in an oven because he thought she was a demon.

The judge recommends that 66-year-old John Lane be allowed to argue he was too mentally ill to file an appeal for a new trial sooner.

The former Auburn, Maine, 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.

In a motion filed Friday in federal court, Lane petitioned that he had ineffective counsel during his trial.

The state Attorney General's Office is now expected to respond to the recommendation.