PARIS – Given the publicity surrounding murder suspect Christian C. Nielsen, an Oxford County Superior Court justice on Monday ordered that a search warrant in the case be sealed from public view.

The motion granted by Justice Robert Crowley was filed by defense attorney Ron Hoffman of Rumford without objection from the state. The warrant will be sealed until at least Oct. 18, according to court records.

“The search warrant contains alleged behavior and information that would clearly inflame the public and be so prejudicial to the defendant thus making it virtually impossible to receive a fair trial in Oxford County or any where else in the State of Maine,” Hoffman wrote in his motion.

He added: “With the release of a search warrant at this time, Mr. Nielsen would be tried by the media; and the public would be so poisoned that he could not get a fair trial in the future.”

Hoffman could not be reached for comment.

Bill Stokes, chief of the Maine Attorney General’s criminal division, said the action is common practice for attorneys when they think documents may interfere with the trial.

Nielsen, 31, who was living at the Black Bear Bed and Breakfast in Newry, is accused of shooting the innkeeper, her daughter and her daughter’s friend, and a guest over Labor Day weekend.

Killed were James Whitehurst, 50, of Batesville, Ark., on Sept. 1; Julie Bullard, 65, of Newry on Sept. 3; and her daughter, Selby Bullard, 30, also of Newry, and Cindy Beatson, 43, of Bethel, both on Sept. 4. Whitehurst was killed in Upton and his burned body buried there, while the three women were killed at the inn, an affidavit stated.

Nielsen was taken into custody at the inn about 5:45 p.m. Sept. 4, about 10 minutes after his stepmother called state police to report she found a dead woman behind the inn and Nielsen’s father thought his son was responsible, a police affidavit stated.

Nielsen is being held at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland awaiting a bail hearing that has not been scheduled. The case is going to the grand jury Oct. 4.

Justice Crowley said Monday that he has given a deadline for motions to be filed regarding a state-requested psychological examination for the former cook.

Neither the state nor defense has indicated a request to change the location of a trial, however Stokes said in cases like this it is likely.


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