PORTLAND – Maine’s high court has upheld a lower court ruling that statements given to police by Christian Nielsen in 2006 would be admissible evidence if Nielsen were put on trial for murder.

Nielsen’s attorneys wanted statements he made to police after the slayings of four people over the 2006 Labor Day weekend in Newry and Upton to be suppressed. Oxford County Superior Court Justice Robert Crowley had ruled the statements Nielsen gave police were fair game since state Trooper Dan Hanson advised Nielsen of his Miranda rights, including the right to have an attorney available to him during questioning by police.

According to court records, before that happened Hanson asked Nielsen simply, “What’s going on?”

He replied, “Well, I killed some people, Dan. I shot them all. The gun’s in the house in the tool chest.”

Nielsen admitted to shooting four people connected to the Black Bear Bed & Breakfast in Newry. He was living there at the time and working in Bethel as a cook.

Nielsen confessed to killing James Whitehurst, 50, of Batesville, Ark., a guest at the inn, on Sept. 1, 2006, in woods near Upton; Julie Bullard, 65, the owner, on Sept. 3, 2006, in her bed; her daughter Selby Bullard, 30, of Bethel on Sept. 4, 2006, at the inn; and Selby’s friend, Cindy Beatson, 43, of Bethel, on Sept. 4, 2006, also at the inn. All four bodies were mutilated.

Court records show Hanson advised Nielsen of his rights, took him into custody and placed him in the rear of his police cruiser and turned on the in-car video recorder.

While investigating the scene, he found dismembered bodies of people and dead dogs. Hanson then returned to the cruiser and said, “I know you invoked your rights and you want to speak to counsel. But I need to ask this question just for the purpose of (unintelligible). Is there any chance there is anyone alive here? I don’t want to leave someone out there bleeding.”

Nielsen responded that each of his victims was dead, court documents state.

In October 2007, Nielsen pleaded guilty to four counts of murder under the condition he would be allowed to withdraw the plea and take his case to trial if the high court overturned the lower court’s decision on the admission of those statements. He was later sentenced to serve four concurrent life sentences in prison.

Attorneys for Nielsen argued their client repeatedly invoked his right to legal representation but police continued to question him despite that request. Nielsen also agreed to talk to police but said he only wanted to tell his story one time, he told Hanson.

“In order to invoke one’s Fifth Amendment right to counsel, one must do so unambiguously,” the supreme court opinion stated.

Another portion of Nielsen’s appeal asked the court to overturn the lower court’s ruling that Nielsen’s competency to stand trial was not addressed.

“We find Nielsen’s remaining contentions to be without merit and do not separately address them,” the written opinion stated.

Attempts to reach Nielsen’s attorney, Ron Hoffman, for comment Tuesday were not immediately successful.


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