Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Clarke Canfield, Associated Press
PORTLAND -- Maine's highest court is set to hear arguments this week on appeals from a northern Maine man serving 40 years for murder and two other men convicted of manslaughter in separate cases in the deaths of a University of Maine college student and a 3-month-old baby.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday in the appeal of 34-year-old Nathanael Nightingale of Burlington, who was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the 2009 shooting deaths of Michael Miller Sr. and his wife, Valerie, who ran a pawnshop and loan business out of their trailer in Webster Plantation.
In his appeal, Nightingale argues that a lower court judge erred by denying his motion to suppress statements he made during two police interrogations and physical evidence that was found as a result of those interrogations. He claims that when he invoked his right to an attorney after the first interrogation, police were obligated to avoid questioning him again for at least 14 days, but that they instead began questioning him again just a few hours after he got an attorney.
Nightingale further claims that an officer obtained a confession from him before he read him his Miranda rights, and then obtained another confession after reading him his rights.
Garrett Cheney, 24, is appealing his convictions on manslaughter, drunken driving and other charges for the 2010 hit-and-run death of University of Maine student Jordyn Bakley in Orono. Cheney is serving a seven-year sentence.
In his appeal, Cheney argues that the evidence was insufficient to support a manslaughter conviction. He's also challenging several decisions made by Justice William Anderson during the trial, including his decision to allow testimony to continue after two jurors were approached by a man outside of the courtroom who told them to convict Cheney and said, "Don't pull a Casey Anthony on us."
Anthony was acquitted of murder in 2011 in Florida in the death of her 2-year-old daughter. The public outrage over that verdict was still a topic of media coverage when Cheney's trial began less than two weeks later.
In the third case, 20-year-old Nicklas Jones of Limestone is appealing his manslaughter conviction in the April 2009 death of his 3-month-old daughter, Jocelyn. Jones was 17 and living with the baby's 18-year-old mother when he allegedly threw his daughter toward a crib to stop her from crying. She died four days later of blunt force trauma to her head.
Jones entered a conditional guilty plea last year and is free on bail pending his appeal.
In his appeal, he argues that statements he made to police should have been suppressed because police didn't read him his Miranda rights. He's also challenging the judge's decision to try him as an adult rather than as a juvenile.