AUBURN — A Turner man accused of intentionally killing his wife pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a murder charge in Androscoggin County Superior Court.
Brian Nichols, 45, was dressed in an orange jail suit when he stood before a judge to hear the charge against him. He waived a formal reading of the indictment.
His attorney, Donald Hornblower, said his client understood the charge.
Nichols looked down for most of the hearing, except when asked to enter a plea. He stood, looked at the bench and told the judge: “Not guilty.”
Prosecutors were seeking finger and palm prints from Nichols, a motion that went unchallenged by Hornblower.
Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese said the state would be asking for a harnish hearing, at which time Nichols' bail would be discussed. Until then, he is being held without bail.
Nichols was led from the courtroom by guards, his wrists handcuffed and his ankles shackled.
Authorities arrested Nichols in May after he called them to his home and confessed to killing Jane Tetreault, 38, his wife of eight years.
An Androscoggin County sheriff's deputy responded to the 225 East Hebron Road home and found her in bed, dead of a gunshot to the head. Nichols told deputies at the scene that he shot Tetreault with a .30-.30-caliber rifle.
The court ordered a mental evaluation at the state hospital in Augusta shortly after his arrest.
One of Nichols' sons, Travis, 17, who was home at the time of the shooting, said his father suffered from bipolar disorder. He told police his father had been stalking his mother and accused her of cheating on him.
Travis Nichols told police his mother had been afraid of being home with her husband and had been sleeping at the office of a cleaning service, where she worked.