January 10, 2013

Witnesses: Hayden had handgun in days before murders

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Pool Photo/Troy R. Bennett: Defendant Joel Hayden speaks with his lawyers before opening arguments in his double murder trial in Portland Monday Jan. 7, 2013. Hayden, of New Bedford, Mass., is accused in the shooting deaths of his girlfriend, Renee Sandora, 27, and his longtime friend, Trevor Mills, 28.

Pool Photo/Troy R. Bennett

“That day he was paranoid,” Holmes said. “He looked like he was strung out. He was telling me about him and Renee (Sandora) fighting.”

Under questioning by Churchill, Holmes said she had never told police before this week that Hayden had threatened to kill Sandora and Mills, because she was “scared.”

Hayden’s mother, Marie Hayden of New Bedford, Mass., testified Thursday morning about text messages and recorded phone calls before the shootings and after her son’s arrest.

She read a text message that Sandora sent her on the day before she was killed, saying that Sandora had driven off with all four children because Hayden wouldn’t leave her house.

Marie Hayden testified that her son was voluntarily committed to Bridgewater State Hospital in his home state of Massachusetts for 30 days of drug treatment about a month before the shootings.

She said she learned from Sandora that Joel Hayden stayed sober for only one day after his release, but would not go back into treatment.

“The thought of being away from Renee, even to get clean, was too much for him,” Marie Hayden said.

A chemist for the state Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory, Stephen Pierce, testified about blood and urine samples taken from Hayden on the night of his arrest, after he crashed a car that he drove away from the crime scene.

The samples showed that he had a high level of oxycodone in his system and a low level of cocaine.

Testimony is expected to continue Friday, with closing arguments Monday.


Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at: 791-6304 or at: sdolan@mainetoday.com

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