ALFRED – In the days after his ex-fiancee disappeared, Jason Twardus told detectives he was “in complete shock” and had no idea where Kelly Gorham was or what might have happened to her.

Twardus said he doubted that Gorham had simply gone somewhere on her own because she never would have left her dogs unattended in her apartment in Alfred.

“This is kind of freaking me out right now,” Twardus told Maine State Police Detective Mike Zabarsky on Aug. 11, 2007, three days after Gorham was reported missing. Twardus said the two had remained friends and kept in close contact despite breaking up earlier in the year.

“I care a lot about her, still do,” he said.

The hour-long recorded interview, and an interview of Twardus two days later, were the focus Thursday in the fourth day of his murder trial in York County Superior Court.

It was the first chance for the jury to hear directly from the defendant, who gave a total of eight interviews to police over the course of the investigation. His lead defense attorney, Daniel Lilley, said Twardus, 29, will decide whether to testify after the state rests its case sometime next week.

Prosecutors say Twardus went to Gorham’s apartment, where he had lived until a few months before, and strangled her on the morning of Aug. 8, 2007. He allegedly buried the body on property owned by his father in the remote woodlands of northern New Hampshire. Police discovered the body three weeks later.

Lilley has sought to implicate two other men, John Durfee, who was Gorham’s landlord, and Calvin DeGreenia, who lived on the same property and had a romantic relationship with Gorham in the week before she vanished.

Durfee and DeGreenia had dinner and drinks with the 30-year-old nursing student on the night of Aug. 7, in the hours before police say she was killed by Twardus.

In the Aug. 11 interview with Zabarsky, Twardus said he lived with his father in Rochester, N.H. When asked when he had last come to Maine, Twardus said he went fishing at Biddeford Pool on the night of Aug. 6, 2007. He said he called Gorham at some point during the trip, but got only her voicemail.

Twardus said he left for home around 2:30 a.m., then showered and went to sleep. He said he vomited and had sweats that morning, so he called out sick from his job at Cole Haan in Greenland, N.H.

Zabarsky interviewed Twardus again after learning that his Subaru Impreza had been seen parked on a country lane within a half-mile of Gorham’s apartment on the night of Aug. 6.

Zabarsky asked Twardus if he had made any stops en route from Rochester to Biddeford Pool. Twardus said he stopped at a Rite Aid to buy Gatorade and cigarettes, but that was it.

When the detective asked him why someone would have seen his car parked near Gorham’s apartment, Twardus said he pulled over there to urinate and drink the Gatorade. He said he pulled over around the time he tried to call Gorham to ask if she wanted to go fishing with him.

“How come you didn’t tell me this the first time I talked to you?” Zabarsky asked.

“I didn’t think it was important,” Twardus said, adding that he had no intention of misleading police.

His car was parked at that location for at least half an hour, witnesses have said.

Lilley says Twardus was reluctant to discuss the pit stop with Zabarsky because he was smoking marijuana, and he later did tell the detectives about his marijuana use that night.

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

[email protected]