The unsolved killing of Darien Richardson, a Portland woman who died from a bullet wound nearly five years ago, is attracting renewed attention after the arrest this week of her then-boyfriend on a federal gun charge.

Cory Girard was taken into custody Wednesday night on a charge of possessing a firearm while being an unlawful user of a controlled substance, marijuana. The charge covers a period of several months, including the night Richardson was shot in 2010.

It is unclear whether the arrest indicates a break in the cold-case investigation of Richardson’s killing, which police believe was tied to the illicit sale of OxyContin.

Both Richardson and Girard were shot in an apartment on Rackleff Street while they were sleeping on Jan. 8, 2010. Richardson, 25, initially survived wounds to her thigh and hand, but died unexpectedly on Feb. 28, 2010, while visiting a friend in Miami, from a blood clot caused by her injuries. Girard was shot in the arm and survived.

Police have said that Girard was interviewed several times but denied knowing who shot them.

Girard, 26, of Yarmouth, was taken into federal custody after he was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday, according to records unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Details of the charge against Girard are limited in court filings to the single-page indictment, which accuses him of possessing a Springfield Arms .45-caliber pistol between Oct. 24, 2009, and Jan. 8, 2010.

While there is nothing in court records that explicitly connects the shooting to the new charge against Girard, the Jan. 8 date in the indictment is the day he and Richardson were shot.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee, who is prosecuting the case, would not comment on Girard’s arrest or whether the charge against him is connected to the cold case investigation.

Richardson and Girard were both shot with a .45-caliber handgun. Girard’s attorney said that gun is not the same handgun that his client is accused of possessing.

“It is not the gun used in the murder, absolutely not,” attorney Michael Whipple said Thursday.

Girard appeared beside Whipple in court Thursday for a brief hearing to be arraigned on the charge. Girard, dressed in an orange jail uniform and blue jail-issued jacket, spoke only briefly to answer questions posed to him by Judge D. Brock Hornby and enter a plea of not guilty.

McElwee has filed a motion seeking to have Girard held in custody while the case against him is pending. The judge scheduled a detention hearing for Tuesday afternoon.

Whipple said he will investigate why it took authorities nearly five years to bring a charge against his client and will argue for his release.

“We will be meeting with probation and try to structure my client’s release, which I think is highly likely,” Whipple said.

A spokesman for the Portland Police Department, which is investigating Richardson’s killing and the shooting of Girard, declined to comment on whether Girard’s arrest by federal authorities could indicate a break in the case.

“It’s still open. It’s still active. We are still investigating,” Portland police Lt. James Sweatt said.

If convicted, Girard faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000.

Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at:

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Twitter: @scottddolan