AUBURN — A judge watched three videos and listened to two audio recordings Wednesday during a hearing on a motion filed by a Lewiston man who was convicted of murder last summer and is seeking a new trial.

Michael McNaughton, 27, was in Androscoggin County Superior Court for the continuation of a February hearing at which his attorney, Verne Paradie Jr., aimed to show that prosecutors had failed to share with the defense evidence that would have helped McNaughton win his three-week trial in July.

Paradie played a video recording of William True, 21, of Lewiston in an April 5, 2013, interview at Lewiston Police Department during which he denied any involvement in a burglary with Romeo Parent, 20, of Lewiston earlier in the week. Parent was killed on April 9, apparently for implicating True in that burglary. McNaughton and True were tried last year for murder; both were convicted, McNaughton in July, True in December.

McNaughton’s defense focused at trial on True as an alternative suspect in Parent’s murder.

In the short video of his interview with a Lewiston police patrol officer, True can be heard denying going into the burgled apartment, visiting a Lewiston pawnshop and pawning an Xbox video game system.

Paradie is expected to argue that any statements True gave police about Parent’s subsequent murder couldn’t be trusted as truthful.


Assistant Attorney General Deborah Cashman pointed out to Justice MaryGay Kennedy that, later that day, True “was forthcoming about elements of the burglary,” after he was taken to Androscoggin County Jail, where he wrote out a statement detailing his involvement.

Paradie played an audio recording of a phone call from Jessica Gaudette to Felicia Cadman, True’s girlfriend, that was recorded by police shortly before McNaughton’s trial began. The two women had been friends and had been together on the night of Parent’s slaying.

True arrived at Gaudette’s Pleasant View Acres apartment in Lewiston that night, possibly providing True with an alibi. The hour at which he arrived at Gaudette’s apartment was the subject of police interviews. Gaudette agreed to call Cadman in an effort to get her to implicate True in Parent’s murder.

A recording of that call was shared with Paradie in August.

More than a year after Parent’s death and on the day that McNaughton’s trial got underway, True was indicted for murder and Cadman, 21, of Mechanic Falls, was indicted for felony hindering apprehension or prosecution.

Paradie called to the witness stand on Wednesday Maine State Police Detective Randall Keaten, who served as lead investigator in Parent’s murder. Paradie asked Keaten whether he had heard the phone exchange between Gaudette and Cadman before Wednesday. Keaten said he had.


“Did you believe that that might have had some relevance to Mr. McNaughton’s case?” Paradie said.

“No,” Keaten answered.

Parent was killed the night of April 9, 2013, in a remote wooded area in Greene. He was stabbed in the back of the neck with a screwdriver nicknamed “pokie” that belonged to McNaughton, and he was strangled with a makeshift garrote called “chokie,” fashioned from a bicycle cable and wooden dowels.

Parent’s body was stripped and bound and was moved the next day to a dam in Jug Stream in Monmouth, where it was found by authorities three days after he was killed.

Paradie asked Keaten about an Androscoggin County Jail inmate who said the garrote used to choke Parent was made by Charles “Scooter” Epps of Lewiston, who had supplied the bed sheets used to bind and wrap up Parent’s body after he was killed. Paradie said Epps had been on his list as an alternative suspect, but Paradie hadn’t enough evidence to pursue that theory at trial.

Cashman said that information hadn’t been known before McNaughton’s trial and, for that reason, couldn’t have been used to cast doubt on his guilt.


Another tidbit of information from a jail inmate was that the screwdriver used to stab Parent had come from the family home of Nathan Morton, 25, of Greene. Morton had admitted driving Parent, McNaughton and True to the wooded area in Greene where Parent was killed. He also said he helped hatch that plan and picked out the spot of the murder and body-dumping.

Morton was charged with murder, but that charge was dismissed after he agreed to testify at McNaughton’s and True’s trials. Morton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 20 years with half of that time suspended.

At McNaughton’s trial, many witnesses said they saw him carrying the screwdriver long before Parent’s murder.

“This would have been significant” evidence had he been able to introduce it at McNaughton’s trial, Paradie said Wednesday.

Cashman set about Wednesday to show that there was no evidence that was shared with Paradie after McNaughton’s trial that would have exonerated him.

She asked Keaten, under cross-examination, whether True was ever a murder suspect and McNaughton wasn’t.


“At any point in your investigation, did any of your investigation suggest that William True, to the exclusion of Michael McNaughton, killed Romeo Parent?”

“No,” Keaten answered. “It was always inclusive.”

Paradie has two weeks to provide the court with his written arguments supporting his motion for a new trial; Cashman has until the end of the month to argue against Paradie’s motion.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. 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.