November 29, 2012

Nelson's lawyer calls investigation of 2009 Anson murder incomplete

More suspects should have been checked out, says defense attorney

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN -- Defense attorneys in the trial of a man charged with murder in Anson three years ago are arguing that the police investigation was incomplete.

click image to enlarge

Murder defendant Robert Nelson, right, listens to opening statements in his trial in the death of Everett Cameron, on Monday in Somerset Superior Court in Skowhegan. At left is defense attorney John Alsop.

Staff file photo by David Leaming

Defense attorney Philip Mohlar said that other suspects should have been investigated and that there was little evidence linking Robert Nelson, 41, to the murder of Everett L. Cameron.

Cameron was found dead, shot in the head in his pickup truck on Town Farm Road on Oct. 31, 2009.

During testimony, Mohlar asked Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews, the chief investigator in the case, if he had investigated other clients who bought drugs from Cameron, a known dealer of oxycodone.

Mohlar said the victim's family gave names to the police, and there were also names drawn from the cellphone records of all the calls made by Cameron that day that should have been investigated as potential suspects. These people, like Nelson, were connected to Cameron through the drug trade and could have had the same motives for murdering him, Mohlar said.

Andrews testified that some of the people named were interviewed for as little as 15 minutes, while others were not asked for alibis and others were not investigated at all.

Mohlar also said there were two gunshots reported to police the day of the killing during the time Nelson met with Cameron and 4 p.m. when the body was found. There may have been more shots, he said, although Andrews confirmed that police did not ask everyone in the neighborhood what shots they had heard that day, which also happened to be the opening day of hunting season that year.

Mohlar also argued there was was no DNA evidence against Nelson and that some DNA found in Cameron's truck could lead to other suspects.

He said that according to a report from the Maine State Crime Lab, DNA swabs taken from the glove compartment button and two empty pill bottles in Cameron's car could not be linked to Nelson. He said that the report did show DNA from two unknown people, although no efforts were made to look into who those people might be.

Andrews testified no attempt was made to identify whose DNA was found. They were not run through a coded database for identification and no DNA swabs were taken from any other suspects besides Nelson, he said.

Mohlar also said that other forensic evidence, including a test for lead residue from a gun in Nelson's car, tests of his clothes from that day, analysis of the rifle found in Nelson's home, and searches of Nelson's home and car all failed to yield evidence linking him to Cameron's death.

Nelson's other defense attorney, John Alsop, asked for an acquittal at the conclusion of the prosecution's case, but Justice John Nivison denied the motion. Nivison will decide the case because Nelson waived his right to a jury.

The trial will resume at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Somerset County Superior Court.

Rachel Ohm -- 612-2368
rohm@mainetoday.com

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