January 10, 2013

Firearms expert testifies in Hayden double murder trial

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — A firearms expert from the Maine State Police Crime Lab testified Wednesday in the murder trial of Joel Hayden that all nine shell casings recovered from the scene of the shootings in 2011 were fired by the same gun: a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

But the gun that was used to kill Renee Sandora and Trevor Mills at Sandora's home in New Gloucester on July 25, 2011, was never recovered, police say.

Kimberly Stevens, a senior supervisor in the crime lab, said that even without the gun, she was able to examine the shell casings and four bullets that police found after the shootings and find signature marks on all of them.

Stevens testified during the third day of Hayden's jury trial in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court. Hayden, 31, is accused of fatally shooting Sandora, 27, the mother of his four children, and Trevor Mills, 28, his longtime friend, while Hayden's 7-year-old son watched.

"We'd like to be able to have a gun to say which gun fired them, but in this case that wasn't possible," Stevens said under cross-examination by one of Hayden's attorneys, Clifford Strike.

Stevens said she also examined the markings on the recovered bullets, which separate from the shell casings when a gun is fired. Of the four bullets that authorities recovered -- including one from Mills' body -- she could conclude that three were fired from the same gun, she said.

The fourth bullet passed through a deck and into the earth, adding marks that made her unable to link it definitively to the same gun, she said.

Trial testimony continued throughout Wednesday. The prosecutors -- Assistant Attorneys General Donald Macomber and Lisa Marchese -- expect to call their final witnesses in the trial Thursday.

It is unclear whether Hayden's attorneys, Strike and Sarah Churchill, intend to call any witnesses for the defense.

Closing arguments could come as early as Friday.


Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:



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