AUBURN — A Lewiston man was stabbed with a screwdriver and strangled with wire after he was lured by a friend into the woods in Greene on a promise of burglarizing a camp, police said.

When Romeo Parent, 20, didn’t die quickly enough, Michael McNaughton, 23, of Lewiston went back six times to strangle Parent, according to an affidavit written by Maine State Police Detective Randall Keaten.

McNaughton appeared in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Thursday where he pleaded not guilty to murder.

Also arraigned Thursday was Nathan Morton, 23, of Greene on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and hindering apprehension or prosecution. He pleaded not guilty to all charges. McNaughton also was charged with the latter two crimes stemming from Parent’s death and pleaded not guilty Thursday.

All of the charges are felonies. Murder is punishable by 25 years to life in prison. Conspiracy is punishable by up to 30 years in prison; hindering, by up to 10 years.

A third person, William True Jr., 19, of Lewiston was charged in the case Thursday with hindering apprehension or prosecution. He pleaded not guilty.

Justice MaryGay Kennedy on Thursday ordered McNaughton held without bail pending trial. She found probable cause for the murder charge and said he posed a possible flight risk and danger to people in the community.

Assistant Attorney General Deborah Cashman filed a motion seeking to join the defendants at trial.

Morton and True, both handcuffed, shackled and wearing jail suits, invoked the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination on advice of their attorneys when asked by McNaughton’s attorneys if they would testify under oath.

Police said in court papers that Parent was killed because he implicated True in an earlier burglary in which Parent had confessed and was charged.

True’s girlfriend, Felicia Cadman, told police McNaughton’s slaying of Parent was an act of community service by “taking care of a rat,” according to the affidavit.

Parent’s former girlfriend, Jessica Gaudette, told police that Cadman had told her the events leading up to Parent’s death and the details of McNaughton’s assault, including stabbing Parent in the back of the neck with a screwdriver.

McNaughton had stayed with Gaudette just days before Parent was killed. McNaughton told her that he would use his military training in dealing with Parent. He told her that Parent had been causing problems in the community by snitching on people and “ratting” on True, according to court papers.

A witness, Lynda Gagnon, told police she saw Parent get in Morton’s Volkswagen Passat the evening Parent was killed. There was another person in the car, she said. Morton later told her that Parent had jumped out of the car in Lisbon after he became upset, according to the affidavit.

Eric Leighton, a friend to Parent and the defendants, testified Thursday that he had told Auburn police True had visited him the day after Parent’s death seeking a large duffel bag. Leighton told police he instead gave True two large trash bags.

True told Leighton he “may have killed” Parent, their “mutual friend,” according to court papers. True threatened to kill Leighton if he called police, Leighton told police.

Leighton told Lewiston and state police in a later interview that Sebastian Moody, a friend of the accused, said McNaughton had used a cable to strangle Parent, “but things did not go well and Parent just would not die,” the affidavit said.

Moody told Leighton that True was taking the fall for the crime because he was smart and “knew the evidence would save him,” according to the affidavit.

Moody took Leighton to an apartment on Bartlett Street where he was searched by Moody and McNaughton, Leighton testified Thursday. They found the business card of a Maine State Police detective in Leighton’s pocket. McNaughton ripped it up and quizzed Leighton about what he had told police.

McNaughton gripped the back of Leighton’s neck and caressed it as he “asked me to keep him safe,” Leighton testified.

Leighton also testified that McNaughton said he wasn’t a bad guy, but “Romeo was a bad guy.”

He said McNaughton, who sat in the courtroom looking straight ahead, had defensive wounds, including a claw mark on his neck.

“There is no question in my mind” that McNaughton killed Parent, Leighton testified Thursday.

In the affidavit, Morton told police that McNaughton approached him with a plan that included Morton finding Parent so McNaughton could “get even with him” for being “a snitch.”

Morton said he picked up Parent at a CVS store in Auburn on April 9. McNaughton was in the front passenger seat, Parent in the back. Morton drove to a remote area on South Mountain Road in Greene.

Parent and McNaughton got out of Morton’s car and walked down a trail toward some camps. Morton became concerned when he saw McNaughton take from his pocket a short piece of bicycle cable with wooden dowels attached to each end.

When McNaughton returned to the car, he was alone, scratched on his neck and arms. He saw blood on McNaughton’s gray army shirt and blue jeans. Morton said he drove McNaughton to Morton’s home in Greene where he washed McNaughton’s pants.

Morton later directed police to the area where he dropped the two. Detectives noticed fresh tire tracks and two sets of foot impressions leading to a bog, according to the affidavit. Near the bog, police found two pierces of clothing with reddish brown stains on them, A small screwdriver also was found. Only one set of footprints could be found returning to the area where Morton said he had parked.

Morton said he had driven McNaughton and True back to the wooded area in Greene where they stripped off Parent’s clothes and put them in a trash bag. They wrapped the body in sheets.

Morton directed police to a bridge in Monmouth on Route 135 where the road crosses Jug Stream. He told police that was where McNaughton and True had thrown Parent’s body near a dam, the affidavit said.

Police recovered Parent’s body, which was clothed only in boxer shorts and socks. His hands and legs had been bound with strips of sheets.

In a follow-up interview with detectives, according to the police affidavit, McNaughton told police he wanted to tell them the truth, but couldn’t and refused to do it in a recorded interview room. He told police outside the Lewiston police station that blood dripped onto his work boots when he was behind Parent trying to strangle him and he drove a screwdriver into the back of his neck. He said Parent “just wouldn’t die.”

Asked whether he knew he had murdered a person, McNaughton said: “I know I did,” according to the affidavit.

Back in the station, McNaughton made “partial admissions” consistent with what he had told police outside, the affidavit said.

An autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner revealed Parent’s hyoid bone at the front of the neck was fractured and surrounding cartilage had been crushed. The preliminary finding on the cause of death was ligature strangulation, the affidavit said.

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AUBURN — Two more men have been charged in the death of a Lewiston man in Greene last month.

Nathan Morton was arraigned this morning in Androscoggin County Superior Court on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and hindering apprehension or prosecution in the death of 20-year-old Romeo Parent in April.

William True Jr. was arraigned on a charge of hindering apprehension or prosecution.

Both men pleaded not guilty.

Last month, Michael McNaughton, 23, was charged with murder in connection with Parent’s death. Investigators at the time said the killing was committed because McNaughton believed Parent was a police informant.

Thursday morning McNaughton was also arraigned on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and hindering apprehension or prosecution. He also pleaded not guilty.

McNaughton, who has no criminal convictions, has been held without bail at the Androscoggin County Jail since his arrest April 12.

Police have said Parent was killed late on the night of April 9. His body was found three days later in Jug Stream, just below the dam that separates Annabessacook and Cobbosseecontee lakes in Monmouth.

Detectives believe Parent was killed near South Mountain Road in Greene and that his body was dumped into the stream along Route 135 the following day.

Parent and McNaughton knew each other, investigators have said. They were friends, but McNaughton had come to believe that Parent had provided information to police about earlier criminal matters.

Parent attended Lewiston High School and worked at an area Dunkin’ Donuts. He had lived at 23 Howe St. in Lewiston but was described by police as a transient.

The charges against the three men came on the same day a bail hearing was being held for McNaughton. The hearing is expected to take up much of the day.


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