AUBURN — Statements that Brian Nichols made to a police officer, who is his nephew, will be admitted at Nichols’ murder trial when it convenes in Androscoggin County Superior Court next month.

Nichols, 46, of Turner is accused of shooting his wife, Jane Tetreault, at their home in May 2010. He has pleaded not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.

The couple had been married for eight years and had two teenage sons.

Lewiston lawyer Donald Hornblower filed a motion to suppress statements that Nichols made to Androscoggin County Deputy Kevin Nichols because of the relationship.

The first statements were made when Deputy Nichols was sent to Brian Nichols’ house for a report of a death. The second set of statements were made when the deputy visited his uncle at the Androscoggin County Jail the following day.

In presenting his motion in court Thursday afternoon, Hornblower argued that Brian Nichols intended his statements for a family member, not a police officer.

After more than an hour of testimony from Detective Nichols, who was promoted from patrol duty in January, and from social worker Rachel Davis, Justice Robert Clifford ruled that the statements made by Brian Nichols fell outside Miranda warning protections. There was no Miranda violation and all statements can be introduced as evidence at trial, Clifford said.

Kevin Nichols testified that, at 3:26 a.m. May 8, 2010, he was dispatched to 225 East Hebron Road after a man called from that home to report he had killed his wife. The deputy recognized that address as the home of his uncle and aunt, Brian Nichols and Jane Tetreault.

He said he got out of his cruiser when he arrived, pulled out his gun and ran toward a moving vehicle in the driveway. The driver stopped, and the detective said he ordered the driver out of the car.

When Brian Nichols stepped out, Detective Nichols said, he ordered the defendant to show his hands and get on the ground. The older Nichols said, “It’s over,” and, “I did it. I shot her,” as he dropped to his knees.

The officer asked Brian Nichols where his children were and then where his wife was, and Nichols answered both questions, telling Kevin Nichols, “She’s in bed, dead.”

The older Nichols also told the officer, in response to direct questions, what kind of gun he had used and where it was, the detective said.

In defending Kevin Nichols’ questions, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese argued that police officers are permitted, in the interest of public safety, to determine the location and physical well-being of people at a scene where an officer believes a crime may have been committed.

Hornblower argued that Kevin Nichols, who was driving a marked cruiser and dressed in uniform and had approached Brian Nichols while holding out his service gun, was placing the defendant in custody and was obliged to give a Miranda warning, especially after the older Nichols was handcuffed.

Hornblower said it was particularly important for Kevin Nichols to have done that because, as a family member, he had special knowledge of the suspect’s potential mental health that other officers may not have had, including reason to believe Brian Nichols could have been dangerous.

In testimony regarding the second set of statements, Davis, a licensed clinical social worker who worked at the Androscoggin County Jail in 2010, testified that she was called to the jail the day after Nichols was charged with murder to evaluate his mental health.

According to Davis, Nichols was “rocking, having tremors. He was non-verbal. Mr. Nichols was unable to stand up on his own accord,” she said. “He would not hold eye contact.”

She also testified that when Nichols saw uniformed corrections officers, “he would bang his head on the concrete wall.”

Those observations, over a 15-minute period, Davis said, were indicative of “someone who has experienced a trauma, or someone who is suffering a psychotic break.” She recommended he be moved to a hospital for mental health treatment.

“He wasn’t cognitive,” Davis said. “He couldn’t stand. He couldn’t bathe himself. He couldn’t feed himself.” He nodded when she asked if he was suicidal, she said.

When Detective Nichols was called to the stand, he testified that he went to the jail later that day to visit his uncle, and found him to be upset but coherent and without tremors.

Detective Nichols testified that, as soon as he arrived, his uncle told him, “I should have killed myself.” The officer told his uncle he didn’t want to talk about the case. He wanted to talk about whether the older man was OK in jail, including whether he had an adequate blanket for his bed.

The detective testified he did not believe his uncle had any trouble understanding him or recognizing who he was.

Under cross-examination, Marchese asked Davis whether it was possible the defendant “may have been choosing not to talk to you” during the mental health evaluation, and was choosing to tremor and bang his head against the wall.

“He could have been making that choice,” Davis said, “I have no way of knowing that.” She stood by her conclusion that Nichols was in need of mental health care.

Nichols was eventually moved to Riverview Psychiatric Center and a mental health evaluation was ordered.

He is being held without bail at the Androscoggin County Jail.

Jury selection for the trial is set for early May, and the trial is scheduled to begin May 11.

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