Wednesday, December 11, 2013
SKOWHEGAN — The Anson man accused of a 2009 murder had little reaction to the death when police told him about it the day it happened, according to testimony Tuesday.
Robert Nelson, 41, was “kind of stone-faced” when told of Everett L. Cameron’s death in October 2009, according to Maine State Police Detective Mike Mitchell in Somerset County Superior Court.
Mitchell also testified Tuesday that police threatened Nelson with drug and other tests while seeking a confession from him that day.
“I was looking for a confession and wanted him to be honest with me,” Mitchell said.
Philip Mohlar, one of two defense attorneys, argued that he was confused as to why Mitchell was so convinced of Nelson’s guilt when a tape-recorded interview from that night revealed police did not search him for drugs or a firearm. The recording, which was played in court beginning Monday, also revealed that the police search of his home that night was brief.
Katrina Allen, Nelson’s cousin, testified that she and some of her family went to Nelson’s house a few days after the shooting to ask him about it.
She said he seemed defensive and irritated that they were there.
Allen also said that she saw Nelson leaving his house on the day of Cameron’s death around 2 p.m.
He was driving fast but waved to her, she said. She said she had been visiting with Nelson’s father, who lives in a house on the same property.
Other witnesses Tuesday from the Maine state crime lab and the state police testified on the nature of Cameron’s death, reporting that he was shot at close range with a .30-caliber bullet and the shooting did not appear to have been a suicide.
Cameron was found with a gunshot under his left eye in his pickup truck around 4:20 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2009. His truck was parked on Town Farm Road in North Anson, just down the road from his own home.
Cameron was selling oxycodone pills he was receiving by prescription to help treat lymphoma, which he was diagnosed with in 2002.
Scott Bryant, a member of the Maine State Police evidence response team, said he examined and itemized Cameron’s truck after the shooting and found a pair of broken eyeglasses as well as two empty prescription bottles.
Bryant also said that an examination of Nelson’s car, a blue Dodge Impact, that he conducted in January 2010, a few months after the shooting, yielded no evidence of a firearm, oxycodone pills or blood stains.
Margaret Greenwald, chief medical examiner for the state, testified Tuesday that she had been told by a police officer that Cameron had a history of depression, but that since no firearm was found in his vehicle police had ruled out suicide. They were requesting an autopsy of his body.
She said that based on the condition of Cameron’s body at the scene, he died somewhere between noon and 3 or 4 p.m. Nelson has admitted he met with Cameron around 2 p.m. that day.
Greenwald said that the jagged irregularities on the edges of the gunshot wound and the presence of soot from the gun on Cameron’s face were evidence that he was shot at close range.
She said that would be an unusual suicide wound and that the bullet appeared to be from a revolver, but she couldn’t tell what type.
Kimberly Stevens, senior laboratory scientist at the Maine State Crime Lab in Augusta, said the bullet was .30-caliber but that she also could not tell what type of gun it was from.
She said that a test of bullet particles found on trees on Nelson’s property indicated that they were not the same type of bullet as the one that killed Cameron.
The court also heard testimony from a residents of the area who were around Town Farm Road the day Nelson was killed.
Henry Etsy Jr., 47, of Campground Road in North Anson, said he drove past Cameron’s truck parked on Town Farm Road around 2:30 p.m. He said he saw Nelson’s car, which has a driver’s side door that is darker than the rest of the body, parked in front of the truck and a man standing by the car that he said he later recognized as Nelson.
He said that while driving by it didn’t register to him that anything might be wrong and that there was nothing to cause concern.
Nelson waived his right to a trial by jury earlier this month and the case is being heard by Justice John Nivison. The trial resumes Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
Robert Nelson is led into Somerset Superior Court in Skowhegan on Monday, for the first day of his trial in the shooting death of Everett L. Cameron.