A Windham man who was indicted on charges of murder and manslaughter for fatally shooting his wife in their Windham home pleaded not guilty to both counts Tuesday during a brief hearing in the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland.

Noah Gaston, 33, has said since the day of the shooting on Jan. 14 that he mistakenly thought his wife was an intruder when he shot her in their home at 37 Brookhaven Drive.

Gaston’s wife, Alicia Gaston, 34, was walking up the stairs of their home around 6 a.m. when Gaston fired a single shot into her torso from a 12-gauge shotgun while standing at the top of the stairwell. The couple’s three children – ages 9, 8 and 2 – were in their upstairs bedrooms at the time.

Maine State Police initially charged Gaston with knowing and intentional murder. After prosecutors presented their case to a Cumberland County grand jury in March, the grand jury added the manslaughter charge when it indicted Gaston.

Justice Michaela Murphy explained to Gaston during the court hearing that murder is punishable by a minimum of 25 years in prison and up to life in prison. Manslaughter is typically punishable by as much as 30 years in prison, and Gaston would face a minimum of four years in prison if he were convicted on that charge because the offense involved a firearm, the judge said.

Gaston spoke three times during the hearing, to acknowledge that he understood the charges against him and to enter his not guilty pleas.


The judge confirmed the case schedule with Gaston’s attorneys, Luke Rioux and Temma Donahue, and a prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Megan Elam. The trial is tentatively scheduled for March 2017. Murphy said she would schedule a judicial settlement conference for November for the lawyers to discuss before a different judge whether they can resolve the case without a trial.

Murphy has already made some significant rulings on evidence in the case, finding the case cleared the legal hurdle required to bring a murder charge but also rejecting a claim by police that Gaston’s 8-year-old daughter heard her parents arguing before the shooting.

The judge has ordered Gaston to remain held without bail while the case is pending, but she has ruled that bail is an option in the case, even though bail is not a consideration in many Maine murder cases. She ordered Gaston to have no contact with his late wife’s family and no contact with his children, who are being cared for by his in-laws. Murphy left open the possibility of amending her order regarding contact with the children while Gaston is held at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland, to align her order with any directive by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

A representative from DHHS attended Tuesday’s hearing, as did one member of Alicia Gaston’s family. No one attended the hearing in support of Gaston.

Murphy told the attorneys on Tuesday that she would leave open the option for the state to request a mental evaluation of Gaston. Elam said after the hearing that she has not filed a motion to make such a request and would not comment on whether she would.


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