AUBURN — A forensic analyst at the state’s crime lab said Tuesday that 20-year-old Romeo Parent’s DNA was found lodged in a crevice on a screwdriver identified by several witnesses as belonging to Michael McNaughton, who is charged with Parent’s murder.

The jury listened to crime lab workers describe at length the process of identifying stains and smears on items that may be linked to the crime on the ninth day of testimony at McNaughton’s trial in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

DNA analyst Jennifer Sabean testified that she received evidence from the crime scene in a wooded area in Greene where police believe Parent was stabbed and strangled to death as well as from Jug Stream in Monmouth, where Parent’s stripped and bound body was later recovered.

The screwdriver was recovered from the wooded area in Greene, where investigators also found Parent’s shirt and pants. Some witnesses said McNaughton told them he could use the tool as a weapon. 

Police also impounded a car that belonged to Nathan Morton, 25, of Greene, who prosecutors said drove McNaughton, 26, of Lewiston and Parent to the area where Parent was killed on the night of April 9, 2013. Morton testified earlier at the trial, now in its third week, in exchange for pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and a 20-year prison sentence, half of which was suspended. A murder charge was dropped by prosecutors.

The only DNA that Sabean was able to match in Morton’s Volkswagen Passat belonged to William True, 20, of Lewiston, who was charged two weeks ago with murder in the case. True had initially confessed to a friend that he killed Parent. Witnesses have said True was at the scene of Parent’s slaying, but only kicked and punched Parent. The motive for Parent’s killing was reported by several witnesses as payback for Parent, who implicated True in a burglary a week before Parent was slain.


Sabean said samples from the trunk of Morton’s car, where witnesses said Parent’s body was placed during transport from Greene to Monmouth, didn’t yield any matches to any of the suspects or the victim in the case.

The only match from the car came from the front passenger door and was identified as belonging to True, Sabean said.

The lab also tested True’s clothes and matched a stain on his jeans with Parent.

Strips of sheet used to bind Parent’s hands and feet contained his own DNA, as did blood found under Parent’s fingernails, Sabean said.

The only DNA matches to McNaughton were found on swabs of his hands and a face mask he owned, Sabean said.

During a break in the trial, the judge vetted an expert on false confessions whom the defense plans to call as soon as the state rests its case.

Justice MaryGay Kennedy ruled that she’ll allow Alan Hirsch to testify as an expert on the subject, but he won’t be allowed to offer his opinion specifically about McNaughton’s incriminating statements to police during an interrogation on the morning of April 12, 2013. The jury watched a video of that meeting in the courtroom on Monday, following along on a transcript.

Hirsch is a lawyer who, according to his website, teaches justice and law studies at Williams College and has testified as an expert in false confessions in nearly 100 cases in nearly a dozen states.

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