PORTLAND – Attorneys for a man who is charged with murdering the mother of his children and a friend last summer want to suppress information from interviews he had with police while he was in the hospital.

Joel Hayden, 30, is accused of fatally shooting Renee Sandora of New Gloucester and Trevor Mills of New Bedford, Mass., outside Sandora’s home on July 25. Hayden was arrested that night after leading police on a car chase that ended when he crashed in Lyman. He suffered serious injuries and was hospitalized.

During a hearing in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court on Friday, Hayden’s attorneys questioned Maine State Police Detectives Ethel Ross and Terrance James about their interviews of Hayden at Maine Medical Center on the two days after the shooting.

The questions revolved around whether Hayden had invoked his Miranda rights and how well he understood what was happening at the time.

During the first interview, James told Hayden about his Miranda rights and Hayden indicated that he understood. James then asked whether he wanted to continue answering questions.

The transcript of the recording indicates Hayden responded, “No, I’m going to have to hire …” with the next word inaudible.

“What part of ‘no’ did you not understand?” Clifford Strike, one of Hayden’s court-appointed attorneys, asked James in court Friday.

James said he remembers not understanding what Hayden said at the time. He said he has listened to the recording several times and cannot make out the inaudible word, but given the context, it probably was “lawyer.”

“I did not know he invoked,” James said.

Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills did not rule Friday on the motions to suppress.

Hayden and Sandora, 27, had four children together, who at the time of the shooting ranged in age from 3 months to 7 years.

Her family said that the couple had been fighting in recent weeks, according to a police affidavit, and that Hayden had accused her of having a relationship with Trevor Mills, who was 28.

The affidavit says their eldest child saw the shootings and neighbors saw the child in the yard yelling “don’t shoot” and “don’t leave” as a car sped away. The affidavit also indicates that Sandora called 911 and reported that her boyfriend had shot her and a friend.

At one point, she said “What — are you going to kill me in front of my kids?”

Hayden’s mother sees that statement as proof that her son did not commit the crimes. Marie Hayden said Sandora would have said “the kids” or “our kids” if it was her son, meaning that someone else was there.

“I’m not just a mother who’s dreamed this up to defend my son,” she said after the hearing. “Joel would not kill Renee. She was his everything — everything, everything.”

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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