AUBURN — Michael McNaughton said on video in court Monday that it was only after 20-year-old Romeo Parent threw himself back onto McNaughton’s screwdriver as he strangled him from behind with a garrote that McNaughton became “scared and lost and only had one direction” to go, which was to kill Parent.

Maine State Police Detective John Hainey testified most of the day in Androscoggin County Superior Court. He said McNaughton admitted during police questioning in the Lewiston Police Department compound outside the station that he had killed Parent using a makeshift garrote, fashioned from a bicycle cable and wooden dowels.

The defendant also told Hainey and a Lewiston police detective that Parent fell back on a screwdriver that McNaughton grasped in one hand while holding the garrote in his other hand. He had been describing how reddish brown stains appeared on his boots, Hainey said, adding that McNaughton had changed boots since that time.

A video of the April 12, 2013, police interrogation was played on a screen in the courtroom on the eighth day of the murder trial of McNaughton, 26, of Lewiston. The state is continuing to present its witnesses and physical evidence.

McNaughton told the detectives, “he just would not die easily,” or words to that effect, Hainey testified. They told him that he had just murdered someone, and McNaughton acknowledged, “I know I did,” Hainey said.

Hainey told the jury what McNaughton had told him and Lewiston Detective Wayne Clifford because the jury could only watch the three men on a black-and-white video from surveillance cameras outside the building that captured their movements, but not their words.


McNaughton had been interrogated starting shortly after 3 a.m. in an interview room in the criminal investigation division area of the Lewiston station. He had objected to speaking with police about the crime while being recorded in that room. The detectives had taken him outside so that he could speak more freely, Hainey explained Monday.

But after McNaughton returned to the interview room, Hainey continued to question McNaughton about statements he had made while he was outside. McNaughton’s answers were recorded and played on a screen in color for the jury to see — and hear.

McNaughton told Hainey: “I really didn’t mean to do it.”

Hainey asked what McNaughton had intended to happen when he accompanied Parent into the wooded area in Greene where he was killed.

“To make him walk back to town and not follow through,” McNaughton said.

Hainey asked McNaughton what made him snap.


“I didn’t snap, sir. It was, after it started, it, I, I, … “

Hainey asked: “When you put it around his neck, he acted a different way than you thought?”

“No, it was after he threw himself back, after that point, I was scared and lost and only had one direction. Because …”

Hainey asked whether that direction was to “take it all the way.”

“Yes sir,” McNaughton said.

At another point during the interrogation, McNaughton was asked about whether he might be suicidal or violent.


“I would never hurt, start violence against someone … expect for, obviously, this one f—— incident,” he said.

Hainey later asked McNaughton whether police were likely to find the garrote at the crime scene. They had just recently recovered what has been identified repeatedly as McNaughton’s screwdriver at the scene of the killing.

McNaughton said they wouldn’t.

“You took it?” Hainey asked.

“Yes. Poofed.”

Hainey asked what “poofed” meant.


“It was handed to someone else random and told to dispose of it,” McNaughton said. He said he didn’t know who had done that.

Hainey asked why Parent “just wouldn’t die.”

McNaughton said Parent had been medicated with Suboxone, a semi-synthetic drug used to treat opiate addiction. McNaughton said he assumed that drug had restarted Parent’s heart.

Hainey asked whether Parent kept waking up or got up and attacked him.

“Limp and gone all of a sudden,” McNaughton answered, followed by a loud gasping sound.

Hainey asked McNaughton how he knew police would return to question him for a second time after an earlier interview.


McNaughton said: “You already knew the story.”

The jury watched roughly an hour of McNaughton’s interrogation by police. He had been brought into the station earlier, on the night of April 11. McNaughton had denied any involvement with Parent or his disappearance.

But that had been before police had talked to Nathan Morton, 25, of Greene, who told them he had driven McNaughton and Parent to a secluded spot in Greene off South Mountain Road the night of April 9. He said McNaughton and Parent went into the woods and only McNaughton returned. He said McNaughton had planned to kill Parent because Parent had implicated Will True, 20, of Lewiston in a burglary a week earlier.

Morton showed police where he had parked and the path the two men had taken. He said Parent had been lured to the site on the promise that he would participate in a drug robbery.

Defense attorney Verne Paradie Jr. questioned the interrogation techniques Hainey and Clifford employed during their interviews. Paradie suggested the detectives might have elicited a “false confession” from McNaughton by providing the answers they wanted, then wearing McNaughton’s patience until he repeated those answers.

Paradie asked Hainey if the subjects of interviews had ever implicated themselves in crimes that were proven they didn’t commit. Hainey said they had.


Paradie asked whether Hainey had learned in his training that police aren’t allowed to promise leniency in exchange for information. Paradie pointed out statements in the transcript where he suggested Hainey or Clifford might have been promising leniency in exchange for a confession.

Hainey disagreed with Paradie’s interpretation of those statements.

The detectives didn’t believe McNaughton’s denials of knowing about the crime and continued to press him for accurate detailed information, Hainey said, not necessarily a confession.

Hainey said he and Clifford took statements common to all witnesses interviewed by police earlier and used those as the basis for their questions of McNaughton, Hainey said.

A Greene woman testified Monday morning that she had confronted a man parked in a dark-colored car on South Mountain Road in April 2013. She said he told her his friend had lost his cellphone the night before in the woods. Shortly afterward, another man emerged from the woods and jogged in the direction of the car. The witness asked whether he had found his cellphone. He said he hadn’t, but would.

Her version of events agrees with Morton’s testimony earlier during the trial that he had driven McNaughton back to the scene in an effort to recover the dropped screwdriver that police eventually found there.

Morton testified in exchange for pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and a 20-year prison sentence with half of that time suspended. A murder charge was dropped.

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