ALFRED — A Limington man accused of killing his neighbor with a machete nearly three years ago is asking a judge to suppress evidence found in searches of his home.

Bruce Akers, 60, pleaded not guilty in September 2016 to the slaying of his 55-year-old neighbor, Douglas Flint. Police affidavits filed in court say Akers killed Flint with a machete on June 9, 2016, and then tried to conceal the body by hiding it under decomposing deer carcasses.

In his 2017 motion to suppress, heard by York County Superior Justice Wayne Douglas on Tuesday, Akers claimed that the removal by York County Sheriff’s Office deputies of a cover over the window of a camper in which he was sleeping constituted an illegal search. The motion to suppress also asserted that a York County Sheriff’s Office sergeant’s calling out to Akers that he wanted to talk with him constituted a command, making his future actions involuntary.

Deputies had gone to Akers property while looking for Flint after he was reported missing by his family members.

Originally found incompetent to stand trial in July 2018, Akers was later treated at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta. Reports issued in October and December found that Akers possessed “the full range of skills associated with trial competence.” Akers did not dispute the reports. On Jan. 3, Justice Douglas found that he was competent to stand trial.

On the stand at York County Superior Court on Tuesday, Sgt. Steven Thistlewood told the court that he had received a call from Akers on June 9, 2016, whom he knew from previous interaction and Akers’ volunteer duties with Limington Fire Department. He said Akers told him he was missing tools and other items and thought his neighbor might be responsible. Akers said he had taken Flint to the grocery store that day and then dropped him off at his home and returned to his own residence to discover a six-pack of Smirnoff Ice was missing. Thistlewood said he told Akers he was off duty and that Akers told him he wasn’t looking for deputies to respond, but for guidance. Thistlewood offered to call him the following day.

Thistlewood said he and Deputy Robert Carr went to Flint’s residence at 546 Ossipee Trail in Limington on June 10 after learning that Flint was missing. His daughter told the deputies her father was depressed and after several calls went unanswered, she and other family members went to her father’s home. Deputies searched and found no signs of a struggle or foul play, Thistlewood said. He and Carr then conducted a grid search of the woods. He testified that Flint’s daughter had told them that Flint and Akers had a longstanding feud about property boundaries.

Thistlewood said he and Carr then walked down a footpath to Aker’s property and found several campers and a pickup truck.

“I yelled to Bruce,” but there was no response,” Thistlewood told Assistant Attorney General Robert “Bud” Ellis at the hearing. He said he thought he heard a noise in one of the campers but it stopped. He noticed the camper door was padlocked.

The two deputies went back to the Flint property and told family members they would return again, and taped the door.

It was early on June 11 when the two deputies returned to Flint’s home, found the door tape secure, and then walked over to Akers’ property on the footpath. They were joined by Sgt. Mathieu Nadeau.

“I heard a thud in the camper,” Thistlewood said. He said there was a weather covering on the window and that he and Nadeau raised it.

Thistlewood said he identified himself as a deputy.

“I called out to Bruce and he came off the floor from a sleeping bag,” Thistlewood testified. He said Akers told deputies “I’m unarmed and I’m not going to hurt anybody.”

Thistlewood then said, “Bruce I need to talk to you, will you come outside.”

He said Akers couldn’t find his keys to the padlock so Thistlewood assisted in opening the door.

Akers came out of the camper, Thistlewood said he activated the recording device on his work-issued cellphone.

Thistlewood said he asked Akers if he knew why he and Carr were there and that Akers replied “yes, probably ”

“I asked where Flint was, and he didn’t answer,” Thistlewood said. “I said ‘Is he alive?’ He put his head down and shook it.”

Thistlewood said as he was searching Akers for weapons, Akers said “the guy just wouldn’t leave me alone.”

He said he read Akers his Miranda rights and asked if he wanted to talk and Akers responded “no.”

He said Carr sat in the back seat of the cruiser with Akers, who was not wearing handcuffs, while Thistlewood drove to the sheriff’s office substation at the Limington Town Office.

Maine State Police Det. Corey Pike read him his Miranda rights when she arrived.

Ellis played Thistlewood’s 28 minute, 27 second recording of the event during the court hearing.

Valerie Randall, who along with Kristine Catherine Hanly, is representing Akers, said she had no objection to the recording.

Deputy Robert Carr testified to his role in the search for Flint and in looking for Akers.

He said while sitting in the conference room of the Limington Town Office, Akers made a voluntary statement.

“It wasn’t anything I planned,” Carr said Akers told them, adding Akers said he didn’t want to be known for doing anything bad.

Maine State Police search dogs later uncovered Flint’s body underneath several rotting deer carcasses on Akers’ 3-acre property.

Randall told Douglas anything turned up by the search warrant should be excluded.

In court documents, Ellis noted that the lifting of the weather covering resulted in no evidence being gathered. He said Akers statements to deputies were voluntary.

Douglas ordered the defense and prosecution to submit written arguments by March 29.

Court documents show jury selection is currently scheduled for Aug. 12, with the trial to commence the following day.

If convicted of the Class A felony, Akers could be sentenced to life in prison. The minimum prison sentence for murder is 25 years.

Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or at:

[email protected]

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