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Lewiston man seeks new trial in 2013 Greene slaying

May 1—AUBURN — A decade after he was convicted of the homicide of a Lewiston man, Michael McNaughton argued Wednesday for a new trial, citing roughly a dozen cases the place he claimed his trial attorneys had made errors, which denied him his constitutional rights.

McNaughton, 36, handcuffed and in a jail swimsuit, appeared in Androscoggin County Superior Court and sat in the identical seat he occupied in 2014 when a jury convicted him of homicide, hindering apprehension or prosecution and conspiracy to commit homicide.

He was sentenced to life in jail.

The sufferer, 20-year-old Romeo Parent, additionally a Lewiston resident, was stabbed and strangled to demise by McNaughton in 2013 in a distant space of Greene.

Parent’s physique later was stripped of clothes, certain and dumped in a Monmouth stream.

The obvious motive for the killing was that Parent had implicated his pal, William True, 23, of Lewiston, in a housebreaking the 2 had dedicated lower than per week earlier than Parent’s slaying.

Parent was branded a “snitch” and the rumor circulated that “snitches need stitches,” in accordance with trial testimony. Shortly after True was launched from jail, Parent had been killed.

In 2017, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court rejected an attraction of McNaughton’s conviction.

He filed a petition for post-conviction overview two years later, noting 11 cases the place, he argued, his trial attorneys had did not take acceptable motion in his protection.

McNaughton claimed he had obtained ineffective help of counsel at trial.

On Wednesday, his two trial attorneys, Verne Paradie and Adam Sherman, took the witness stand and testified at an evidentiary listening to on McNaughton’s petition.

Among his claims, McNaughton wrote that his trial attorneys ought to have employed an professional to assist show by way of enhanced audio that he had exercised his Miranda rights throughout the early a part of a taped interview with a police detective.

Paradie testified Wednesday that he believed he had, in truth, employed an audio professional to just do that.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin bolstered that argument by presenting an exhibit that confirmed an “authorization to expend funds for an audio enhancement specialist,” filed by the protection attorneys in that case.

McNaughton wrote in his petition that he had requested his trial lawyer to dam from being impaneled a potential juror who was taking antipsychotic remedy. His lawyer did not problem choice of that juror, McNaughton wrote, “thus denying (him) a right to a fair and impartial jury of his choosing.”

Sherman testified Wednesday that the juror who had self-identified as having a borderline persona dysfunction had been, in truth, picked by protection counsel as a result of there was a chance her presence would possibly disrupt proceedings sufficient to trigger a mistrial.

“I thought, ‘What better way to get the jury talking to each other and arguing with each other,'” he mentioned.

It had been a strategic determination to incorporate her, he mentioned.

McNaughton wrote in his petition that his lawyer did not enlist assistance from a “footwear/footprint” professional “to refute the state’s expert who testified at trial that a footprint outlined by investigating officers was not, in fact, a footprint.”

Robbins introduced a Maine State Police Crime Laboratory report dated June 29, 2013, that included findings that the footprint impressions from the crime scene “were not of a quality that were suitable for comparison.”

In his petition, McNaughton wrote that his trial lawyer did not have independently examined a human hair that was despatched to the Maine Crime Lab discovered below the sufferer’s fingernail, “which defendant asserts would result in exculpatory evidence on his behalf.”

Sherman mentioned Wednesday that prosecutors hadn’t examined the hair for DNA as a result of it lacked a root, which might have yielded essentially the most dependable DNA end result.

The lab might have despatched the proof to a different lab to conduct a special DNA check on the hair, however Sherman mentioned one of the best protection can be to level out the “deficiency in the state’s investigation,” questioning its integrity by noting the shortage of observe by way of.

“A hair being under somebody’s fingernail could very well be a perpetrator. And they didn’t care who the perpetrator was if they didn’t send it out for testing,” Sherman mentioned.

Moreover, the protection did not have the hair examined independently due to the likelihood it’d prove to match McNaughton’s DNA, Sherman mentioned.

In his petition, McNaughton raised different questions on his illustration at trial, together with the potential of a police detective giving false testimony, prosecutors making “misleading and false” statements throughout closing arguments and the necessity for transferring the trial to a special county as a consequence of pretrial publicity.

McNaughton had sought to take away the trial decide from reviewing his petition, however Justice MaryGay Kennedy mentioned Wednesday that she wouldn’t recuse herself as a result of that motion isn’t “necessary nor warranted.”

Paradie mentioned Wednesday that there was no bodily proof nor DNA introduced at trial that was used to convict McNaughton.

“This case would have been a lot different had Mr. McNaughton not talked to police, which I still think was an unfair interrogation,” Paradie mentioned.

It was, as a substitute, McNaughton’s interview by police, coupled with the testimony of witnesses who mentioned he had bragged in regards to the killing, that had led to his conviction, Paradie mentioned.

During Wednesday’s listening to, McNaughton and his lawyer, Jeffrey Toothaker, took turns asking questions of witnesses.

Afterward, McNaughton started presenting closing arguments, however requested Kennedy for extra time.

She gave him 10 days to arrange his closing arguments in writing.

Toothaker mentioned he would retrieve McNaughton’s paperwork from him at Maine State Prison in Warren, the place he’s serving his sentence, and ship them to the courthouse.

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Oxford County arrest log: April 29, 2024

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