AUBURN — A Lewiston man charged with murder was shown on video in court Friday responding to certain questions from police by reciting only his name and Social Security number.

A judge continued to hear arguments on a motion by the defense aimed at blocking from an upcoming trial incriminating statements made to police by Michael McNaughton, 26.

He is accused of strangling Romeo Parent, 20, of Lewiston in April 2013 in a wooded area in Greene with a makeshift garrote fashioned from a bicycle cable.

McNaughton’s attorney, Verne Paradie, told Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy in his suppression motion that his client repeatedly declined to answer questions from detectives during two interviews at the Lewiston police station in April 2013, indicating he didn’t want to be questioned. At one point, before he was placed in police custody, McNaughton was kept at the station after he could be heard on video saying he wanted to leave. Paradie said detectives should have stopped questioning McNaughton but didn’t.

Detectives testified Friday that McNaughton continued to answer many of their questions, never invoking his right to remain silent or asking for legal counsel. Maine State Police Detective John Hainey said McNaughton asked to leave right before police collected his clothing, necessitating that he remain at the station until replacement clothes could be found. They also took photographs of injuries to McNaughton’s hands and neck, believed by police to have resulted from a struggle with Parent.

McNaughton was interviewed twice by detectives: the first time at about 9:30 on the night of April 11; the second, shortly before 3 a.m. the following day.


Video footage of the first interview was played in the courtroom Tuesday; of the second interview, Friday.

In the first interview, McNaughton repeatedly tells detectives that he is “lost,” which Paradie suggested Friday was a way of signaling his ignorance to detectives’ questions.

Assistant Attorney General Deborah Cashman showed in the video that police followed proper procedure by reading McNaughton his rights before questioning him about specifics in the case. He appeared to understand those rights.

Detectives 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.

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.

During the second interview, after McNaughton was reminded of his Miranda rights, he appears in video to be less inclined to answer more probing questions, responding at times by saying he didn’t want to answer or wanted to answer but couldn’t.


McNaughton, who had served in the U.S. armed forces, answered some questions with only his name and Social Security number. He also appeared to be tired, laying his head on the table that separated him from detectives.

The second interview was interrupted by a roughly 5-minute break that took McNaughton and two detectives out of the building to the back of the station. Captured on grainy, black-and-white surveillance video, the three men could be seen standing near the door, McNaughton gesturing with one of the detectives.

Hainey said he allowed McNaughton to speak with them outside, away from the video camera in the interview room and out of earshot of the audio recorder Hainey kept on the table there.

McNaughton had told them he wasn’t comfortable talking on tape.

Once outside, he made incriminating statements and performed a demonstration, police said. When asked about the stains on his work boots, McNaughton said, “He fell back on it,” explaining that Parent had snapped his neck back as McNaughton stood behind him with the garrote in one hand and a screwdriver in his other hand, Lewiston police Detective Wayne Clifford said. The screwdriver stabbed Parent in the back of the head.

When Hainey asked McNaughton about the scratches on his hands and neck, he said Parent “just wouldn’t die.”


Once back in the interview room, McNaughton made more incriminating statements stemming from his earlier discussion with detectives outside.

Paradie also is hoping to have thrown out photographs police took of McNaughton’s injuries.

McNaughton is one of two defendants charged with murder in Parent’s death. Co-defendant Nathan Morton, 25, of Greene appeared briefly in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Tuesday 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.

Both sides in the case have a week to file their closing arguments, findings and conclusionswith the court before the judge decides whether to grant the motion.

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