The lead investigator behind the state’s allegations against a 27-year-old man charged with murder took the stand Friday to lay out his case to a jury.

Aristotle Stilley enters the courtroom in Cumberland County Superior Court on Monday for the first day of his murder trial. Stilley is accused of killing David Anderson in Portland in 2016. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

But Portland Detective Jeffrey Tully barely mentioned the defendant, Aristotle Stilley, in his roughly three hours of testimony.

Instead, Tully spoke almost exclusively about his interactions with Naja Lake, Stilley’s long-time partner, who prosecutors say implicated Stilley in the March 15, 2016, shooting that killed 36-year-old David Anderson and wounded 21-year-old Abdirahman Abdullahi. Both were inside a third-floor apartment at 88 Gilman St. that night when a gunman fired six rounds at the door and left, picking up the bullet casings on his way out.

Stilley was arrested while living in California about four years later and extradited back to Maine, where he’s been waiting for a trial ever since. Over the p  ast week, prosecutors in Cumberland County Superior Court have focused mostly on Lake and analysis of the crime scene.

Lake is the only person who the state has called that ever suggested Stilley was involved. Witnesses to the shooting couldn’t see the gunman’s face.

But this week Lake recanted much of what she told a federal grand jury in 2018 when she implied Stilley used her gun in the shooting. Lake said she lied because she was under pressure from police, and was led to believe they could help her get her daughter back from state custody.



Tully, who said he first met Lake in 2016 the morning after the shooting, described her on Friday as someone who always seemed to know more than she shared. Police suspected early on that the gun she reported stolen, a .40 caliber Hi-Point, was the murder weapon. She told Tully in 2016 the gun had blue bullets, matching those found at the Gilman Street apartment.

Tully met with Lake several times that March, April and July and he thought their first few interactions seemed “laid back” and “pleasant.” He said she later became uncooperative – she wouldn’t let police look through her phone or search her car. When they asked for her and Stilley’s DNA, to compare to a sample taken from the gun, she refused and police had to get a warrant.

But questions from Stilley’s attorneys suggest Lake was hounded and misled by the detectives.

Defense attorney Tina Nadeau played a recording from one early interview, during which Lake starts crying and tells Tully she’s scared.

“I would be scared,” Tully says in the recording. “I think you should be scared.”


“I don’t think I should be,” Lake says. “Because I have nothing to do with that. That sounds like a threat, honestly.”

Lake and Stilley moved to California sometime after 2016. Tully said he didn’t speak with Lake again until she was back in Maine in the summer of 2018, when a federal judge had ordered her to appear before a grand jury in U.S. District Court to testify about the shooting.

Tully was one of the officers who arrested her as a material witness.

On Tuesday, Lake testified that Tully pressured her and said he could help her reunite with her daughter, who was in California state custody at the time.

Prosecutors had cast doubt on the claim Tuesday, asking Lake why she believed someone in Maine would have the resources to help with a custody matter in California. But Tully told the court Friday that he did say the department could help connect her to social services after she described the “difficult circumstances” she was dealing with.

Tully said he never made any threats or promises to Lake.


Three years later, when police brought Stilley back to Maine, Tully was in California and visited Lake’s house with another officer. Nadeau played a recording from that meeting, during which Tully tells Lake that police would have helped her if she had been more cooperative with them.

“We were 100% committed to trying to help you get your child back,” Tully said in the recording. 


Tully never said Friday when he first considered Stilley a suspect.

Nadeau asked why the detective never got a search warrant for Lake’s home and why he never asked her to view surveillance footage of the shooting, if he truly believed she might know something.

Nadeau said other evidence was never pursued. When lab scientist Kimberly James was studying the bullets found at Gilman Street, she couldn’t conclusively say whether they had come from the .40 caliber Hi-Point gun.

James and Tully asked the FBI to help with further testing, but they couldn’t. When James asked if they could send the bullets to a private lab in Canada, Tully testified that, to his knowledge, the test was never done.

Even once Stilley was in custody, Nadeau pointed out he was still gathering key evidence for prosecutors close to trial – that included a DNA swab police took from another suspect, John JJ McLean, in 2017 that he didn’t ask the Maine State Crime lab to test until earlier this year.

McLean is scheduled to testify when the trial resumes on Tuesday. He was arrested and brought to court for a brief hearing Friday afternoon, during which Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy ordered that his testimony is necessary and agreed he’ll get immunity.

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