AUBURN — A Lewiston man charged with murder in the 2013 strangling death of 20-year-old Romeo Parent appeared in court Tuesday in an effort to have thrown out incriminating statements he made to police as well as photos of his injuries.

Michael McNaughton, 26, is one of two defendants charged with Parent’s murder. Co-defendant Nathan Morton, 25, of Greene appeared briefly in Androscoggin County Superior Court to withdraw a motion to suppress statements he made to police last year. His attorney, George Hess, said Morton is preserving that argument for a jury at trial. Morton’s motion to separate his case from McNaughton’s wasn’t withdrawn.

Three other men have been charged in connection with the Parent slaying.

On Tuesday, two Maine State Police detectives testified about their interviews with McNaughton. A Lewiston police detective testified about his role in tracking McNaughton’s movements and bringing him to the Lewiston police station for an interview.

McNaughton’s attorneys had filed a motion seeking to suppress statements McNaughton made to police during two interviews at the police station. Verne Paradie, one of McNaughton’s attorneys, also is seeking to block from trial photographs taken of McNaughton during the first interview.

A hearing on that motion is expected to continue Friday morning.

In his motion, Paradie wrote that his client told his interrogators several times during the first interview that he felt “lost” and didn’t want to be there. Police had advised McNaughton of his Miranda rights, including his right to remain silent. He wasn’t placed under arrest.

Paradie said officers continued with the interview, becoming hostile to McNaughton and ignoring signals that he didn’t want to talk.

After telling officers he wanted to leave, officers continued with the interview, “ignored that request and told him he could not leave yet,” Paradie wrote in his motion.

“Despite his request to leave and remain silent, the questioning continued for almost two more hours,” Paradie wrote.

Police told McNaughton that they were going to take his clothes and photograph him before he left, “leaving him no choice but to comply,” Paradie wrote.

Assistant Attorney General Deborah Cashman played for the judge a video recording of the first police interview with McNaughton. It showed him seated on one side of a table, the two detectives on the other. At one point, McNaughton begins shedding his clothes. A third detective enters the room and starts photographing McNaughton’s upper body.

The video showed long, wide red scratches on the right side of McNaughton’s neck. The video showed the detective taking photographs of McNaughton’s hands from several angles. In many of the photos, one of the detectives held a ruler near the injury to provide scale.

Cashman called two detectives to the witness stand to talk about their interviews with McNaughton.

She sought to show that police followed proper procedure by reading McNaughton his rights before questioning him about specifics in the case.

They testified that McNaughton surrendered his clothing without police requesting he do so. He provided DNA swabs without protest and didn’t appear to resist police efforts to take photographs of his injuries, detectives said.

Maine State Police Detective John Hainey testified that McNaughton was told four times during the first interview on the night of April 11 that he didn’t have to talk and was free to leave at any time.

Police supplied McNaughton with new clothes to replace those a detective can be seen on the video putting into paper evidence bags.

When he was brought back to the station hours later for his second interview with police, McNaughton was reminded of his Miranda rights, but police didn’t read him his rights a second time.

Police said Morton drove Parent and McNaughton to a remote wooded area in Greene where McNaughton stabbed Parent with a screwdriver and strangled him with a makeshift garrote, fashioned from wire and wood. Police said McNaughton had to go back six times because Parent didn’t die quickly enough, according to court papers. McNaughton had lured Parent into the woods on the promise of burglarizing a camp, police said.

Morton also later helped move Parent’s body to a Monmouth stream, where it was found by police.


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