ALFRED — In a cliffhanger ending to a day in court, jurors in the murder trial of Derek Poulin went home Wednesday without knowing whether the blood or DNA of his grandmother, whom he is accused of killing in a savage attack, were found on his father’s shoes, which police never tested.

The fifth day of Poulin’s trial in York County Superior Court adjourned after the testimony of a private investigator, who did what police never did – collect the clothes and shoes of Poulin’s father, Reginald Poulin, to test for evidence that could connect him to the death of 61-year-old Patricia Noel on Oct. 23, 2012, in Old Orchard Beach.

Derek Poulin’s attorney, Amy Fairfield, has said she intends to name the elder Poulin, who is Noel’s son, as an alternate suspect. Both Derek Poulin, 26, and Reginald Poulin, 45, lived with Noel at 44 Wesley Ave., where her burned body was found.

The private investigator, Kevin Cady, a retired police officer, testified that he interviewed Reginald Poulin more than a month after Noel’s death. At that time, he also collected the clothes and shoes that Reginald Poulin wore the day of his mother’s death.

Cady said Reginald Poulin’s clothes had no blood-colored stains, but he sent the shoes, a pair of Nike sneakers, for testing to a private DNA laboratory in Texas, Cellmark Forensics. Cady said he received the sneakers back from the lab Monday.

In court, Cady used a pair of scissors to cut the seals off the box, unwrapping packaging while seated just feet away from the jury to reveal the shoes and two vials from the lab testing.


Fairfield then asked Justice John O’Neil Jr. to adjourn early for the day. She told the judge that her next witness, a scientist from Cellmark Forensics, is scheduled to fly in late Wednesday night from Texas to be available to testify Thursday morning.

Fairfield began calling witnesses for the defense in the afternoon after the prosecution rested its case following the testimony of its final witness, a state DNA scientist.

The scientist, Cathy MacMillan of the Maine State Crime Laboratory, had tested a golf club, wrench and knife that police have accused Derek Poulin of using to beat and stab his grandmother, but said she did not find positive evidence of Poulin’s DNA on any of the items. Poulin is accused of stabbing Noel about 70 times before setting fire to her body and the bedroom of her home.

MacMillan found conclusive DNA evidence from Noel on the handle of the golf club and on the head of the wrench, but only an unidentifiable trace of some male DNA on the club’s handle.

She said she also tested the left boot that Derek Poulin was wearing on the day Noel was killed and found Noel’s DNA in a reddish-brown stain on the boot’s toe. But further tests could not confirm that the stain was from blood or how old the stain was, MacMillan said.

She also revealed in her testimony that the only other conclusive DNA results she obtained from the alleged murder weapons belonged to a state police crime scene analyst, Detective Lauren Edstrom.



Although Noel’s death was bloody, police found no blood evidence to tie Poulin to the crime inside the car that he was driving later that day, or on his clothes. Video footage from a security camera at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Portland, however, shows Poulin was wearing different clothes that day than the clothes he turned over to police.

Before the testimony of Cady, the private investigator, Fairfield called several other witnesses, including a co-worker of Reginald Poulin.

Jason Billings, a manager at Lawn Dawg in Portland, testified that on the day Noel was killed, Reginald Poulin was working a route in Yarmouth and Falmouth, driving from one client’s lawn to another, spraying fertilizer and pesticides, and keeping a computerized log of his progress through the day.

Billings said Reginald Poulin’s log from the truck he drove that day showed him at locations between 8:19 a.m. and 12:22 p.m., but that there are no records of where he was after that until he punched out on a time clock at the company’s Riverside Street headquarters at 3:44 p.m.

Firefighters were called to the fire at Noel’s house at 2:09 p.m. Reginald Poulin arrived there at 4:20 p.m. Fire investigators said Reginald Poulin was visibly distraught when he arrived and had to be stopped from running into the house.


Reginald Poulin’s sister, Darcy Daniels, testified that her brother lived with her for months after the fire until they received insurance money that her brother used to restore Noel’s home so he could return there to live.


Derek Poulin has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and arson. He has not stated whether he will testify at the trial in his own defense. He has been brought to court each day, dressed in a suit and tie, and has sat quietly between his attorneys, whispering with them from time to time.

At the beginning of the week, Fairfield told the judge that she might recall Reginald Poulin as a witness for the defense. The prosecution called him as a witness last week, but he told the judge that he intended to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to testify on grounds that his testimony could incriminate him.

Police arrested Derek Poulin less than a week after his grandmother’s death after discovering that his statements to investigators about where he was the day of Oct. 23 did not match the times on purchase receipts and video security cameras.

Investigators also discovered a note on Noel’s dining room table in which she wrote that she had told her grandson that he “better find a new place to live.”

Poulin has been held without bail since his arrest.

If convicted, he faces from 25 years to life in prison for murder and up to 30 years in prison for arson.


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