Day 4 Of Nelson Murder Trial - Testimony Could Wrap Up Friday
The trial of an Anson man accused of shooting another man over a drug dispute continued in Skowhegan Wednesday.
Police say 41-year-old Robert Nelson shot and killed 60-year-old Everett Cameron and stole his prescription oxycodone.
Prosecutors say the victim, who was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago, had been selling his medication for extra money.
In court Wednesday, prosecutors worked to solidify a big part of their case against Nelson. They attempted to show what they believe Nelson did October 31, 2009, the day Cameron was gunned down.
According to the prosecutor's theory of the crime, Nelson was cutting wood with a friend, Tim Couglar, earlier in the morning. Prosecutors then say Nelson shot Cameron around 2:00, stole his oxycodone, hurried home to clean up, then headed to his daughter's 4th birthday party.
Earlier this week Couglar testified Nelson was sober in the morning while they cut wood together. Cougler said Nelson saying he had to go meet with Everett Cameron.
Proving Nelson was sober on the morning of the murder, but under the influence of drugs after meeting with Everett Cameron, is crucial to the prosecution's case. Nelson admitted to meeting with Cameron but says he did not get drugs from him at that meeting.
Prosecutors called several of Nelson's family members and friends who were at his daughter's party hosted by Nelson's grandmother, Phyliss Howell. They testified that Nelson appeared to be under the influence of drugs when he arrived more than 30 minutes late. "I'd seen him like this before, but this was the worst I'd ever seen," said Nelson's Aunt Ellen Howell. Howell also testified she had a talk with Nelson about entering rehab for his drug addiction and he seemed receptive to the idea.
Prosecutors also called Nelson's former girlfriend of more than 8 years, Allison Macmillan, to testify. Macmillan is the mother of Nelson's daughter. She testified Nelson was very much under the influence of drugs at their daughter's birthday party that day. "His eyes looked like he couldn't even focus. Like they were going in two different directions," she said. "I've known him for a really long time and I had never seen him act like that before. He was just off. I was in a state of shock for him to show up like that. I went out to talk to him and he was falling asleep on a car."
Nelson's current girlfriend, Lynn Ledger, also testified Wednesday. She was also at the birthday party and says she followed Nelson in her car when he left. Ledger said she and Nelson pulled their cars over in a parking lot to talk. During that conversation Ledger said Nelson was using drugs right in front of her. "I saw him snort a pill," she testified. "He got a pill out of a bottle. I heard him dump it out of the bottle. By the sounds of it, the bottle was pretty empty. He told me not to watch him. He knew I didn't want to see it."
Ledger also testified about guns that Nelson owned, including rifles and a handgun. She also said Nelson found an old handgun in his car after he had loaned the car to friend. Police have never identified the gun that killed Everett Cameron.
Prosecutors also played a recording made by police of a phone conversation between Nelson and his ex-girlfriend, Allison Macmillan, the day after the murder while police were trying to get a confession. Macmillan testified that police asked her to call Nelson and at times gave her questions to ask him while they listened in and recorded the call. "What was your understanding of the purpose of that call?" defense attorney Philip Mohlar asked Macmillan. "To find out if he knew anything or to try to get him to confess," she answered.
Below is an excerpt of that recorded conversation:
Macmillan: "Be honest with me. Did you have anything to do with him getting killed?"
Nelson: "No, not at all. I already told you the guy would give the shirt off his (expletive) back. I was a good friend of his."
Macmillan: "I can't believe it was someone you were involved with, or someone you were in drug deals with?"
Nelson: "I know, he was a really decent guy. He always helped me out. But he was involved with some real shady (expletive)."
Nelson's murder trial resumes Thursday morning. Closing arguments are expected by the end of this week. If convicted Nelson faces 25 years to life in prison.
Day Two Nelson Murder Trial; Uphill Climb For Prosecution Continues