Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Rachel Ohm firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Nelson is led into Somerset Superior Court in Skowhegan on Nov. 26, for the first day of his trial in the shooting death of Everett L. Cameron.
Staff file photo by David Leaming
SKOWHEGAN — Robert Nelson said Monday that he met with Everett L. Cameron the day he was murdered three years ago, but did not kill him.
Nelson, testifying on his own behalf in Somerset County Superior Court, said he had no plans to buy drugs from Cameron on the day of the murder, but wanted to tell him he couldn’t give him money he owed him.
Cameron was found dead that afternoon with a gunshot wound to the face in his pickup truck on Town Farm Road.
“I did not kill Everett Cameron,” he said. “People were pointing fingers at me that day because I met with him, but I didn’t do it.”
He did, however, plead guilty Monday to the other crime he is charged with, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Nelson testified that he was cutting wood in Starks the morning of Oct. 31, 2009, the day Cameron was killed, and attended his daughter’s birthday party that afternoon.
While at the woodlot, he got a voicemail message from Cameron who said he had drugs available.
Nelson said he owed Cameron $35 for an oxycodone pill and didn’t have the money to repay him and didn’t plan to buy drugs that day.
When prosecutors asked Nelson why he would meet with Cameron rather than tell him over the phone that he didn’t have the money, he said, “I’m not a talk over the phone kind of person. If I don’t have somebody’s money I’m going to tell them to their face.”
Nelson said he parked his car alongside Cameron’s truck on Town Farm Road and got in the truck to talk with him about hunting and how Cameron, who had lymphoma, was feeling.
Nelson said he bought drugs during the days leading up to Cameron’s murder and that he took drugs that day. He said he didn’t buy drugs from Cameron that day because he owed him money and “I wanted to hold on to my money to buy other drugs.” He said Cameron wouldn’t have sold him anything while he still owed him money.
After leaving Cameron, Nelson said he had to stop to add brake fluid to his car. He then went home and changed his shirt, which was dirty from changing the brake fluid, and picked up presents for the birthday party.
Nelson also said he took half an oxycodone pill, a prescription pain reliever, and half a Xanax, a prescription anti-anxiety drug, before he went to the wood lot that morning.
He said he also took a Xanax just before arriving at the wood lot and took another half oxycodone and half Xanax on his way to the party. He drank about 12 beers over the course of the day, he said.
Last week, Nelson’s family and friends who were at the party testified that he was high on drugs to a degree they hadn’t seen before.
The court adjourned early on Friday because of what Justice John Nivison said were issues with evidence. Defense attorney John Alsop said that the state would attempt to collect more evidence over the weekend, although nothing was presented on Monday and state prosecutors wouldn’t comment.
Nelson pleaded guilty on Monday to the second count of his indictment, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, a class C felony with a maximum charge of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Police found a rifle in Nelson’s home in the days following the murder. He was prohibited from having firearms because of a 1994 convection on a vehicle robbery.
On Monday, Nelson said he initially lied to police about his gun use when interviewed about Cameron’s death because he knew he was not supposed to have a gun and didn’t want to go to jail. The sentencing for that charge will be at a later date said Nivison, who is presiding over the jury-waived trial.
Both sides rested their cases Monday, the sixth day of the trial. Closing statements will be made at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368