Convicted murderer accused in prison death pleads not guilty

Posted Oct. 13, 2011, at 3:39 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 13, 2011, at 5:48 p.m.
Franklin A. Higgins in 2001
BDN file photo
Franklin A. Higgins in 2001
Lloyd Millett
Courtesy of Maine Department of Corrections
Lloyd Millett
Franklin Higgins
Courtesy of Maine Department of Corrections
Franklin Higgins

ROCKLAND, Maine — A convicted murderer accused of fatally beating another convicted killer at Maine State Prison told a judge Thursday afternoon he wasn’t guilty of the crime.

Franklin Higgins, 49, entered his not guilty plea during a brief initial appearance in Knox County Superior Court.

The Maine State Police say Higgins assaulted Lloyd Millett in prison on May 24. Millett died June 7 at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor after being hospitalized for his undisclosed injuries.

The police affidavit connected with the investigation of Millett’s death has not been released. The Knox County grand jury indicted Higgins on the prison murder charge earlier this month.

He is serving a 45-year sentence for the 1999 killing of a woman inside her Kenduskeag home. Millett was incarcerated for killing two women in 1995, one in Lewiston and the other in Turner.

“Bail seems somewhat moot,” Judge Michael Westcott said during the court proceeding.

Higgins, a tall, heavy-set man with flowing grey hair, made his appearance in court shackled, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and flanked by prison guards. He will continue to be held without bail, the judge decided.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea represented the state during the hearing.

William F. Pagnano of Rockland served as Higgins’ attorney. Pagnano said afterward that his client has applied for a court-appointed attorney.

Documents filed with the court indicate that Higgins has total assets of $3.06. A judge found that he is indigent.

A trial has been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 7, 2012, at Knox County Superior Court.

Millett, 51, of Rumford was convicted in 1997 of the killings over the course of a weekend in November 1995 while he was working as a farmhand in Turner. The victims were Terrie Lizotte, 39, of Canton and Rachelle Anne Williams, 33, of Gorham, N.H.

Higgins was convicted in 2001 for stabbing to death 40-year-old Katherine Poor of Kenduskeag in her Route 15 apartment.

BDN reporter Heather Steeves contributed to this story.

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