AUBURN — A Greene man agreed Wednesday to serve 10 years in prison for his role in the 2013 strangulation of 20-year-old Romeo Parent of Lewiston.

Nathan Morton, 25, reached an agreement with prosecutors for a sentence of 20 years with half of that time suspended, plus four years of probation for conspiracy to commit intentional murder, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Morton also agreed to a concurrent 10-year sentence on a count of hindering apprehension or prosecution, the maximum time allowed for the Class B crime.

A murder charge will be dismissed, Assistant Attorney General Deborah Cashman said.

Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy accepted Morton’s plea. The case is expected to be continued for sentencing next month.

The murder trial of Michael McNaughton, 26, of Lewiston, accused of killing Parent, is scheduled to start with jury selection on July 8 and is expected to take at least two weeks.

Advertisement

Morton had sought a hearing on a motion to suppress incriminating statements he made to police during interrogations last year. But he withdrew that motion shortly before last month’s scheduled hearing. Defense attorney George Hess had said Morton was preserving that argument for a possible jury trial. That was before he agreed to a plea. Hess also had filed for Morton a motion to separate his case from that of McNaughton.

Three other co-defendants were charged with lesser crimes in the April 2013 slaying.

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 a bicycle cable and pieces of wood. Police said Morton returned to the scene the next day with McNaughton and helped strip Parent’s body, then move it to Jug Stream in Monmouth, where it was found by police.

After initially lying to police about details in the case, Morton eventually cooperated and helped them recover the body and find the scene of the slaying.

Police said the motive for the killing was the belief that Parent had implicated a friend in a burglary they had been charged with committing together, apparently “ratting out” his fellow defendant, William True.

According to the Androscoggin County grand jury’s indictment, Morton’s role in Parent’s murder began when Morton schemed with McNaughton to lure Parent to a remote location and kill him under the guise of plotting a burglary. Morton then tried to mislead police about the crime.

Cashman said Morton was the one who picked the locations in Greene and Monmouth and knew what McNaughton planned to do when Morton drove Parent and McNaughton to the wooded area in Greene from a Lewiston drugstore.

By pleading guilty, Morton gave up his right Wednesday to go to trial and to have the Maine Supreme Judicial Court appeal his conviction or review his sentence.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.