ELLSWORTH (AP) – Drugs and money appear to be factors in the shooting death of a 27-year-old Ellsworth man, whose body was found along a dirt road in July, according to a state police affidavit.

The victim, Tad Howard, and murder suspect John Turner of Bangor both were involved in dealing drugs and Turner owed Howard money, says the affidavit, which was unsealed Wednesday in Hancock County Superior Court.

The document also says that Turner told friends he believed Howard carried a lot of cash and he had intentions of robbing Howard. Turner asked several people if he could borrow a gun to intimidate Howard, the affidavit says.

Investigators said the two men were driving around in a van in the Brewer area on the night of July 8, and Turner later told police they were collecting drug debts.

Turner has told police that Howard threatened his family but that he doesn’t remember anything after that, except that he returned home to the Bangor area.

Howard’s body was found the next day in a ditch along a dirt road off Route 9 in Amherst.

On July 9, Turner saw an evening news report that a body had been found in Amherst. He began acting strangely and asked to be taken to the hospital, his mother told police.

Turner was later transferred to Acadia Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Bangor.

Turner, 34, has been held without bail in Hancock County Jail since his arrest July 20 at Acadia Hospital. He has been indicted on a murder charge.

A state prosecutor handling the case, Andrew Benson, declined to comment on the affidavit. Defense lawyer Jeffrey Toothaker told the Bangor Daily News that the document speaks for itself. Toothaker is seeking a mental evaluation for Turner.


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