Day 3 Of Nelson Murder Trial; Family & Friends Say On Day Of Murder Nelson High On Drugs
In order to secure a guilty verdict against accused murderer Robert Nelson prosecutors must overcome a lack of physical evidence. Prosecutors say the 41-year-old Nelson shot 60-year-old Everett Cameron of Anson at point blank range over a drug dispute back in October of 2009.
The prosecution and defense agree that the victim, Everett Cameron, was selling his prescription oxycodone to various people in the community, mostly friends and family. Robert Nelson has admitted to being one of Cameron's customers.
During opening statements Monday, prosecutors told Judge John Nivison that they have no murder weapon, DNA evidence, or a confession. Nelson, who pleaded not guilty, waived his right to a jury trial, opting instead to have his fate decided by Nivison.
Tuesday, prosecutors introduced audio recordings of police interviews conducted shortly after the murder. On the tapes Nelson told police what he thought of the victim Everett Cameron. "I considered him a friend," Nelson said.
Nelson admitted buying drugs from Cameron and also admits he owed Cameron $35 for drugs, but denies killing him. Nelson and his attorneys argue that a lot of people bought drugs from Cameron and that all of those people had the same motive to kill him. Prosecutors admit there is a long list of drug customers, but they argue Nelson is the only one who had the opportunity to commit the murder. Witnesses put Nelson at the crime scene at around the time Cameron was shot.
On the recording played in court Tuesday, Detective Mike Martin of the Maine State Police is heard telling Nelson, "I know there's other people who buy drugs from him, but you were there?" To which Nelson replied, "I know it was just the wrong place at the wrong [expletive] time."
Defense attorneys called into question some of the interrogation tactics employed by state police detectives while questioning Nelson.
On the audio recording, state police detectives are heard aggressively questioning Nelson. At some points of the interview detectives even lied to Nelson trying to extract a confession.
On the recording, Detective Martin could be heard telling Nelson that police had a Google map photo of him shooting the victim Everett Cameron.
Defense Attorney Philip Mohlar asked Detective Martin in court, while he was testifying under oath, whether they in fact had a picture of Nelson committing the crime. Mitchell answered, "No", saying that was only a technique used by state police.
State police detectives continued questioning Nelson for nearly two hours, but could not get the confession they were after. The following is an excerpt from the conversation played in court:
Detective Martin: "You're the only vehicle that approached him. Not to mention we have the telephone calls. Shortly after you leave she discovers him dead. All I'm trying to do is get you to be honest."
Nelson: "I've been as honest with you guys as I can. I swear on my daughter's life."
Detective Martin: "Don't swear on your daughter's life. What caused you to go over the edge?"
Nelson: "I'm all done cause you guys are just trying to push me into something."
During cross examination, Moehler went after Detective Martin:
Mohlar: "The purpose in your statements to him is trying to get him to confess?"
Detctive Martin: "Yes."
Mohlar: "And at no time did he confess to the crime?"
Detective Martin: "No"
Mohlar: "At that time you thought he killed Mr. Cameron?"
Detective Martin: "I would have named him my number one suspect."
Dr. Margaret Greenwald, the state's Chief Medical Examiner, and Kimberly Stevens, a ballistic expert, also testified for the prosecution during the morning session.
The trial is expected to last until early next week. If Nelson is convicted he faces 25 years to life in prison.
Day One Of Robert Nelson Murder Trial; Shooting Was Over Drug Dispute