DA: Suspect in Maine couple’s deaths sought money


BANGOR (AP) — A man accused of killing a couple in Webster Plantation confessed to police that he was seeking money from the home where one of the victims ran an unlicensed pawn shop, operated a loan-sharking business and sold prescription drugs, prosecutors said Monday.

Nathaneal Nightingale, 32, helped a forensic artist to create a composite sketch of a suspect after the killings, but he was actually a steady customer and later confessed to killing Michael Miller Sr. and Valerie Miller for money, said Assistant District Attorney Andrew Benson.

Defense lawyer Jeffrey Silverstein told jurors not to put too much stock in Nightingale’s statements to police. He said Nightingale was actually friends with the Millers.

Nightingale, who has been detained since December 2009, is being tried in Penobscot County Superior Court on two counts of murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

On Monday, witness Alan Richardson testified about finding the bodies on Nov. 28, 2009. Richardson said he became suspicious when he noticed the home was locked even though the couple’s vehicles were in the driveway. He described a grisly scene when he peeked in a glass pane on the front door, the Bangor Daily News reported.

He said he saw Michael Miller lying on his back “Valerie lying down with her head on Mike’s chest.”

Autopsies indicated both victims were shot in the head.

Before the killings, Michael Miller had been laid off from a mill, but both the prosecution and the defense agree that Miller, known as “Big Mike,” ran an unlicensed pawn shop and made loans, in addition to buying and selling prescription drugs.

Benson said Nightingale owed money to Michael Miller. Nightingale had only one prior conviction for operating under the influence in Rangeley in May 2005.