November 30, 2012

Suspect's lawyer: Police work in Maine murder incomplete

Attorneys say suspects other than Robert Nelson should have come under investigation.

By RACHEL OHM Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN – Defense attorneys in the trial of a man who is charged with a murder in Anson three years ago are arguing that the police investigation was incomplete.

click image to enlarge

Robert Nelson is led into Somerset Superior Court in Skowhegan on Monday for the first day of his trial in the shooting death of Everett L. Cameron.

David Leaming / Staff Photographer

Attorney Philip Mohlar said Thursday that other suspects should have been investigated, and that there was little evidence linking Robert Nelson, 41, to the murder of Everett L. Cameron.

Cameron was found dead, shot in the head, in his pickup truck on Town Farm Road on Oct. 31, 2009.

During testimony in Somerset County Superior Court, Mohlar asked Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews, the chief investigator in the case, if he had investigated other people who bought drugs from Cameron, a known dealer of oxycodone.

Mohlar said the victim's family gave names to police, and names were drawn from the cellphone records of all the calls that Cameron made day.

Those people, like Nelson, were connected to Cameron through the drug trade, and could have had motives for murdering him, Mohlar said.

Andrews testified that some of the people named were interviewed for as little as 15 minutes, while others were not asked for alibis and others were not investigated at all.

Mohlar said two gunshots were reported to police on the day of the killing, during the time Nelson met with Cameron and at 4 p.m. when the body was found.

There may have been more shots, he said, although Andrews said police did not ask everyone in the neighborhood what shots they had heard that day -- the opening day of hunting season in 2009.

Mohlar argued that there was no DNA evidence against Nelson, and that some DNA found in Cameron's truck could lead to other suspects.

He said that, according to a report from the state police crime lab, DNA swabs from the glove compartment button and two empty pill bottles in Cameron's truck could not be linked to Nelson.

He said the report did show DNA from two unknown people, but no efforts were made to look into who those people might be.

Andrews testified that no attempt was made to identify whose DNA was found, and no swabs were taken from any suspects besides Nelson.

Mohlar said that other forensic evidence, including a test for lead residue from a gun in Nelson's car, tests of his clothes from that day, analysis of the rifle found in Nelson's home, and searches of Nelson's home and car, failed to yield evidence linking him to Cameron's death.

Nelson's other defense attorney, John Alsop, asked for an acquittal at the conclusion of the prosecution's case but Justice John Nivison denied the motion.

Nivison will decide the case because Nelson waived his right to a jury.

The trial will resume at 8:30 a.m. today.

 

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

rohm@mainetoday.com

 

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