AUBURN — A Lewiston man convicted in December of murdering 20-year-old Romeo Parent is seeking to have his conviction thrown out or be granted a new trial.

William True, 21, was the second defendant convicted last year in Androscoggin County Superior Court of killing the Lewiston man in April 2013.

Michael McNaughton, 27, also of Lewiston, was convicted of murder by a jury nearly a year ago following a three-week trial. McNaughton, too, is challenging his conviction.

Attorney James Howaniec, representing True, wrote in his June motion that prosecutors presented three witnesses at trial who committed perjury and that prosecutors knew or should have known their testimony was false.

Howaniec wrote that a DNA analyst who testified at True’s trial about a blood stain on his pants matching the victim’s blood “had misled the jury” in a case at which she testified five years earlier. The judge in the earlier case determined that a DNA sample from the defendant had been mixed up with samples from two other cases.

During True’s trial, prosecutors presented prejudicial evidence to the jury that suggested True’s footprint had been found at the site of Parent’s murder, despite the trial judge’s removal of the image from evidence that the jury could consider.


“The damage caused by this extremely inflammatory photograph had already been done,” Howaniec wrote.

Howaniec wrote that prosecutors attempted to present a transcript of a police interview with True that omitted an exculpatory statement that could have helped True’s case.

“The prosecution’s misconduct in this matter was gross and wanton and deprived Mr. True of a fair trial,” Howaniec wrote. “The defendant’s right to a jury trial was infringed (when a juror was improperly discharged after being seated).”

Assistant Attorney General John Alsop responded to Howaniec’s motion by filing his own motion to dismiss Howaniec’s request for a new trial.

In his motion, Alsop wrote that Howaniec was too late in filing his motion seeking a new trial other than on the ground of new evidence.

Alsop said prosecutors had no duty to disclose the mixup of evidence in an unrelated matter in 2009 in Machias. Howaniec could have discovered the same information the same way prosecutors did, by using a search engine on the Internet.


Any claims of prosecutorial misconduct are “emphatically denied by the state,” Alsop wrote.

Because all of Howaniec’s claims, aside from the DNA analyst issue, were raised during the trial and don’t represent “newly discovered evidence,” Alsop wrote that they belong in an appeal of True’s conviction, and not in a motion for a new trial.

True has not been sentenced. Neither has McNaughton.

A murder conviction is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.

True was convicted of murder and hindering apprehension or prosecution; he was acquitted of conspiracy to commit murder.

Prosecutors told the jury that True was one of three men who went with the victim to Greene on the night of April 9, 2013. True and McNaughton lured Parent down a path on a dead-end dirt road on the pretense of burglarizing a camp for drugs, prosecutors said.


Once in the woods, Parent was beaten, stabbed with a screwdriver at the base of the skull and fatally strangled with a homemade garrote fashioned from a bicycle wire and wooden dowels.

The next day, Nathan Morton, 26, of Greene, drove True and McNaughton back to the crime scene where True and McNaughton stripped Parent’s body, bound his wrists and ankles and stuffed his body in the trunk of Morton’s 2007 black Volkswagen Passat, prosecutors said. He drove to Jug Stream in Monmouth, where True and McNaughton dumped Parent’s body in the stream near a dam.

Less than a week before Parent’s murder, he and True had committed a burglary together. Parent had told police about True’s involvement. Police arrested True and put him in jail over the weekend of April 6 and 7, 2013, while Parent remained free.

Parent was branded a “snitch” and the rumor circulated that “snitches need stitches,” according to trial testimony. A short time after True was released, Parent was dead.

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