Court document reveals details in Amherst slaying


ELLSWORTH (AP) – A Bangor man charged with murder told police that he was with the victim the night before his body was found in a ditch in Amherst, a court document said.

John J. Turner, 34, said he and Tad Howard were riding together in Turner’s car on the night of July 8 when Turner “blacked out” and later found himself alone in the vehicle in Brewer, according to the affidavit filed this week in Hancock County Superior Court.

Turner was arrested late last week in Bangor and accused of killing Howard, 27, of Ellsworth, who died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head.

The court document also indicated that Turner emerged as a suspect after detectives found Howard’s cell phone and a piece of paper with the name J.J. and two phone numbers at the crime scene near a dirt road off Route 9.

One of the numbers was for a cell phone that was later traced to Turner, while the second was for a landline in Bangor belonging to Turner’s mother, Sandy Newman.

When detectives interviewed Newman, she said her son had voluntarily checked himself into Eastern Maine Medical Center.

He was transferred to Acadia Hospital, a mental health and substance abuse facility in Bangor, where police interviewed him July 12 and learned that he had been with Howard the night he died.

Howard’s family and Turner’s mother declined to speak with reporters at Turner’s initial court appearance Monday. The suspect returned to court Thursday, where a judge decided he would continue to be held without bail.

Jeffrey Toothaker, Turner’s court-appointed attorney, said Monday that his client has been on suicide watch at Hancock County Jail since last Friday.

AP-ES-07-26-07 1805EDT