Peru man appears in court Tuesday on murder charges

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RUMFORD — A man charged with killing his mother-in-law was ordered Tuesday to have no contact with his 6-year-old daughter, who police say witnessed the sexual assault and slaying of her grandmother.

Paul Orchard, 33, of Peru has been charged with two counts of murder in the strangling death of Paula Nuttall, 57, who died at their home Saturday.

Bail was set at $100,000 cash with conditions Tuesday on the charge of felony murder because the prosecution wanted to ensure that Orchard does not talk to his daughter or his wife, who are state witnesses, Assistant District Attorney Joseph O’Connor said.

On the first count of depraved indifference murder, Judge Lance Walker ordered Orchard held without bail until a hearing to determine whether bail should be set or denied.

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Tuesday’s hearing was held via videoconferencing at Rumford District Court. Orchard was represented by Paris lawyer Sarah Glynn.

Asked by Walker why the state wanted Orchard held without bail until a hearing on the first charge but wanted bail set on the second charge, O’Connor said the state doesn’t want Orchard to have any contact with his daughter or wife because they are state witnesses.

His daughter “witnessed her father kill and sexually assault her grandmother,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said defendants held in jail have been known to contact their families by phone.

“The bail conditions are essential to ensure the integrity of the judicial process to protect the witnesses to the alleged murder and the alleged sexual assault,” O’Connor said.

When the first call for help came in to the Oxford County Regional Communications Center in Paris, dispatchers had difficulty getting information from Nuttall. According to the affidavit, a girl could be heard in the background yelling, “Daddy, please stop it; please stop it!”

Lt. Daniel Carrier of the Mexico Police Department heard the radio traffic and arrived at the house four minutes after the call was made.

When he arrived, the girl was near the front door and told Carrier: “Go help my mom; my dad’s hurting her!”

When Carrier stepped onto the porch, he could see Orchard on top of a woman. Carrier went into the house and ordered Orchard “to stop what he was doing,” according to the affidavit, and when Orchard didn’t comply Carrier grabbed him and pulled him off the woman.

After Orchard was handcuffed, Carrier was not able to get any response from Nuttall. When Carrier asked Orchard who the woman was, according to the affidavit, Orchard said, “I killed my wife!”

Later, police discovered that the victim was not his wife but his mother-in-law.

When a Med-Care ambulance arrived moments later, responders pronounced Nuttall dead.

Orchard was taken to Rumford Hospital by Med-Care because he was covered in polyurethane and police believed he may have consumed it.

Later, when police interviewed Orchard’s daughter, she told them she had been playing outside when she heard her father and grandmother yelling at each other.

When the girl went inside, according to police, she saw her father beating Nuttall. The girl told police her grandmother asked her to hit her father with a bottle, which she did, but the attack continued. The girl handed Nuttall the bottle, and she hit Orchard in the forehead.

According to the affidavit of Maine State Police Detective Michael Chavez, Orchard told his mother, Margaret Rosher, during a phone call, “It was like a vapor high or somethin’ when I was doin’ the floor over.”

Orchard told his mother he didn’t remember attacking Nuttall and asked Rosher if Nuttall was OK.

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