AUBURN — A judge ruled Monday she’ll allow most of the statements made to police by a Lewiston man to be used at his murder trial scheduled to get underway next week.

An attorney for the defendant has filed a motion seeking reconsideration of that order.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are asking the judge to force the defense to show evidence supporting their theory that alternative suspects could have murdered 20-year-old Romeo Parent of Lewiston last year.

Police said they believe Michael McNaughton, 26, strangled Parent in a wooded area of Greene in April 2013 with a makeshift garrote fashioned from a bicycle cable.

McNaughton was interviewed twice by police about the matter, once on the night of April 11 and again early on April 12.

McNaughton filed a motion to suppress those statements as well as evidence gathered during those meetings with police. A hearing on that motion was held about a month ago.


In ruling on that motion, Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy wrote in a 30-page order that McNaughton’s statements from all of the first interview and a portion of the second interview would be allowed at trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks. Although McNaughton could reasonably have believed he was in custody during much of his interrogation, he had been properly read his rights to remain silent and to be represented by an attorney, known as the Miranda warning from the precedent-setting case Miranda v. Arizona, Kennedy wrote.

At one point during the latter interview, McNaughton said, “I really don’t want to speak anymore on the subject … I’ll take the Mariah.” Everything he told police from that point on will be barred from trial, Kennedy wrote.

During the first interview, McNaughton told police several times that he felt “lost,” but continued to respond to questions posed by police detectives.

“The court finds that McNaughton did not articulate a desire sufficiently clearly that a reasonable police officer in the circumstances would understand the statement to be a retraction of a waiver and a reassertion of the right to remain silent,” Kennedy wrote.

During the second interview, McNaughton answered police questions early on with only his name and Social Security number. At his May hearing, defense attorneys argued that response was McNaughton’s way of invoking his right to remain silent. He had served in the military, and the defense argued that under the rules of the Geneva Convention, all questioning of a prisoner of war must cease after the prisoner recites his name, rank and serial number.

Kennedy disagreed with that interpretation and “finds this response was not an unambiguous articulated desire that would inform the officers that he wanted them to stop questioning,” she wrote. Other times, he said he didn’t want to answer “some” questions posed by police or that he “wanted to speak, but couldn’t.”


Those answers are ambiguous and don’t say clearly that he wanted to stop the questioning, Kennedy wrote.

Later in the second interview, McNaughton said he wanted to speak to the officers outside of the interview room at the police station, where his answers wouldn’t be recorded. He was taken outside, but remained on the grounds of the police station.

The two detectives who accompanied him outside said McNaughton told them that Parent’s blood landed on McNaughton’s boots when a screwdriver he held at the back of Parent’s head stabbed him in the neck. He told the two detectives how he crafted the garrote. He said he and others had moved Parent’s body and that McNaughton had taken Parent’s shoes and hat.

After returning to the interview room, McNaughton was left there to sleep for two hours. He was placed under arrest and read his Miranda warning again. Asked whether he wanted to answer questions, McNaughton said, “Not really.” When asked: “Yes or No?” he said, “Yes.”

He answered more questions about what he did, but became concerned when he heard his recorded voice coming from another room.

When questioning resumed, he said he didn’t really “want to speak anymore on the subject” and invoked his rights, erroneously referencing the name ‘Mariah.’”


Kennedy wrote: “In context with his previous statement, it is reasonable to believe that when he said ‘Mariah’ he meant ‘Miranda.’”

Police took photographs of McNaughton’s apparent injuries to his hands as well as scratches on his neck and a black eye. They also took his clothes and DNA swabs.

McNaughton had been asked if he would consent to the photographs, which he did. He was told his clothes wouldn’t be tested without a search warrant. Kennedy said there was no violation of McNaughton’s Fourth Amendment rights.

Verne Paradie, McNaughton’s attorney, said Monday that he disagreed with Kennedy’s finding that McNaughton had agreed to waive his right to remain silent when he had recited his name, rank and serial number, “a clear indication” he did not want to answer questions about Parent’s murder. One of the detectives even recognized the recitation as it related to the Geneva Convention, Paradie said.

He said he agreed with Kennedy that his client had been in police custody during both interviews.

McNaughton was one of two defendants charged with murder in connection with Parent’s slaying. Co-defendant Nathan Morton, 25, of Greene pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to commit intentional murder and hindering apprehension or prosecution. He and prosecutors agreed on a 20-year sentence, with 10 years suspended.

Three other men have been charged in connection with the crime.

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