AUBURN — A jury heard a Lewiston man charged with murder speak in court for the first time Thursday.

The jury also got a glimpse of 26-year-old Michael McNaughton’s bare torso in a videotaped interview in which police took photographs of scratches to his face, neck, arms and hands and asked him to surrender his clothes.

The seventh day of testimony in McNaughton’s trial in Androscoggin County Superior Court featured a recorded interrogation at the Lewiston police station that ran for more than two hours.

Fifteen jurors followed along with the aid of a transcript. Many jurors jotted notes on writing pads provided by the court as the video aired.

McNaughton, sporting black pants, a purple shirt and matching tie, sat watching the video as he, too, followed along on a transcript.

At the time of McNaughton’s April 11, 2013, meeting with police, 20-year-old Romeo Parent of Lewiston had been missing, but his body had not yet been discovered. Police had information that he’d been killed by McNaughton but had no physical evidence at that time.


McNaughton waited in a small, concrete-block walled room for nearly two hours before police entered the room. They had been interviewing other witnesses in the case who also had been brought to the police station for questioning.

McNaughton’s interview started shortly before 9:30 p.m. He largely denied any involvement with Parent and his disappearance. He told two Maine State Police detectives he had planned to travel to Massachusetts the following day to start work at a carnival.

Assuring McNaughton that he could leave at any time and that he wasn’t under arrest, the detectives read him his Miranda rights, including his right to remain silent, then asked him if he understood what that meant.

McNaughton’s lead trial attorney, Verne Paradie Jr., had earlier in the case filed a motion to suppress his client’s statements to police, arguing that McNaughton had been in police custody and had indicated early on that he didn’t want to talk about the subject.

Justice MaryGay Kennedy wrote in a June opinion that statements made by McNaughton during that interview would be allowed at trial. She also ruled that most statements from a second interview, conducted at roughly 3 a.m. on April 12, 2013, were admissible. At one point during the second interview, McNaughton said: “I really don’t want to speak anymore on the subject … I’ll take the Mariah (meaning Miranda.)” From that point on in the second interview, Kennedy wrote, none of McNaughton’s statements to police could be presented at trial.

The jury is expected to watch the allowable portion of McNaughton’s second — and more incriminating — interview when his trial resumes Monday.


Maine State Police Detective John Hainey testified Thursday that one of the five defendants in the case, Nathan Morton, 25, of Greene, had spoken to police and led them to the crime scene before McNaughton’s second interview.

Morton has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in exchange for his testimony and a sentence of 20 years in prison with half of that time suspended. A murder charge was dropped. He testified earlier during the trial.

Morton told police that McNaughton had stabbed Parent in the back of the neck with a screwdriver and strangled him to death with a homemade garrote, fashioned from a bicycle cable and wooden dowels. Morton directed police to a wooded area in Greene where he said he had driven McNaughton and Parent on the night of April 9, 2013.

Paradie also filed a motion to suppress evidence, including clothing McNaughton had worn to his first police interview and photos of his scratches.

Paradie said the removal of McNaughton’s clothing was an illegal search of his client. Paradie said that probable cause is needed for a search and noted that a police detective from the first interview testified Thursday that he had no information at the time that the clothing McNaughton was wearing had been worn during the commission of a crime.

Kennedy had denied that motion and, on Thursday, denied Paradie’s motion to have her reconsider her ruling. She also denied his motion for a mistrial.

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