The Massachusetts State Police SWAT team, FBI and local police had their guns drawn as they ambushed and arrested triple murder suspect Nicholas J. Sexton early Thursday morning during a “no-knock” raid in Brockton, Mass.
Sexton, 31, of Warwick, R.I., was arrested at a woman’s house in Brockton at about 4 a.m. on a fugitive from justice warrant from Maine in connection with the drug-related triple homicide this summer in Bangor, according to Massachusetts State Police.
Sexton was unarmed when arrested and did not struggle with law enforcement, Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said.
A Brockton District Court clerk said Sexton is fighting extradition to Maine and that his case has been continued to Oct. 31. He is being held without bail, said a spokeswoman in the Plymouth County (Mass.) district attorney’s office.
Sexton and Randall “Ricky” Daluz, 34, of Brockton, who was arrested Tuesday in New Bedford, Mass., are each charged with three counts of knowing or intentional murder and one count of arson in the slayings of Daniel T. Borders, 26, of Hermon; Nicolle A. Lugdon, 24, of Eddington; and Lucas A. Tuscano, 28, of Bradford on Aug. 13. The victims had been shot, and their charred bodies were found inside a car that had been set ablaze in the back parking lot of a Bangor business.
“How can you shoot someone, when you supposedly are their friend, put them in a car when they are barely breathing or dead and set them on fire?” Shannon Lee, the mother of Borders’ daughter, said Thursday morning. “I just don’t understand. People like that aren’t like me and you, they don’t have a conscience. They can still sleep at night.”
Lee knew Sexton and had met Daluz, she said. She is one of the people who thought Sexton was dead inside the burned-out car before the names of the dead were released.
This week’s arrests have had a cathartic effect on some of the family and friends of the victims.
“I want justice and I hope they get what they deserve, even though it won’t bring Nicole back,” said Kris Lovley of Bangor, who was good friends with Lugdon for the last two years. “We are nine days shy of two months [since the homicides]. It’s been a long wait.”
Lovley said it’s been a healing process for the last two months, and it’s not finished.
“The first month was really hard, knowing that when I go out, I’m not going to see her, and I’d always see her out,” said Lovley, a waitress at Chili’s in Bangor. “Whenever we saw each other, we gave each other the biggest hugs.
“I just hope that after all the trials and, hopefully, convictions that everyone has at least a little peace of mind about it, and it helps everybody, at least a little.”
The white Pontiac with the three bodies inside was found ablaze about 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 13 in the back parking lot of Automatic Distributors, at 22 Target Industrial Circle, by a woman on her way to work.
The Pontiac was a rental car whose license plate was linked to Sexton, who renewed the rental contract on Aug. 11, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor by James P. Herbert, a special agent with the FBI.
Bangor police detectives learned from Rhode Island law enforcement on the day the bodies were discovered that a woman from the Ocean State was heading to Maine to pick up Sexton, described as her boyfriend.
“An analysis of [the woman’s] cellular phone activity led BPD detectives to Sexton at a hotel in Danvers, Mass.,” the affidavit states. “BPD detectives attempted to interview Sexton in Danvers on Aug. 14, 2012, but he told them that he would not speak with them.”
Sexton and Daluz were secretly indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury on Sept. 26, after which fugitive from justice warrants were issued.
The Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension team, Rhode Island State Police Violent Fugitive Task Force, FBI agents and U.S. marshals worked to track down Sexton.
“Police developed information that led to the address of a woman” on Montello Street in Brockton, according to a news release from the Massachusetts State Police.
Police obtained the “no-knock” nighttime warrant, which was executed by the Massachusetts State Police Special Tactical Operations Team, members of the FBI and Brockton police.
A member of the Massachusetts State Police, who asked not to be identified, said a no-knock nighttime warrant is obtained only for serious crimes.
“You just don’t get a no-knock warrant for a [traffic violation],” he said. “It has to rise to a certain level of danger.”
Bangor police Detectives David Bushey and Joel Nadeau went to pick up Daluz in New Bedford and brought him back to Bangor on Wednesday night.
Daluz, who is nicknamed “Money,” was arrested about 1 p.m. Tuesday in New Bedford by detectives acting on a tip from a nearby police department, and quickly started talking about Sexton, according to Sgt. Dean Fredericks of New Bedford Police Department.
“While en route, Daluz began talking spontaneously and told me, ‘I’m lucky to be alive, and … if he didn’t run out of bullets, I’d be dead too,’” Fredericks said in court documents released Wednesday.
“I didn’t kill anybody. Nick did it, not me,” Daluz told the sergeant. “I’m afraid of him, and I’m afraid he’s going to go after my family,” he added.
Sexton, who was taken to the state police barracks in Middleboro, Mass., was arraigned Thursday in Brockton District Court on the fugitive from justice warrant.
“At this point, he has not waived rendition, which means he’s fighting the warrant from Maine,” Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz’s spokeswoman, Bridget Norton Middleton, said Thursday.
Sexton was given a court-appointed attorney, James Murphy of Brockton, and is scheduled to have a pretrial conference at the end of the month, she said.
“Eventually, if he doesn’t waive extradition, there will be a [hearing] for the fugitive from justice warrant,” Norton Middleton said. “We’ll have to prove he is wanted in Maine.”
“Most people waive extradition,” she added.
Daluz told Fredericks that Sexton was involved in a previous Massachusetts death, according to court records.
“He killed another guy too in 2005 in Brockton, him and his brother shot a guy for molesting his brother’s kid,” Daluz told police, saying that is one reason he is afraid of Sexton.
“The murder that he did with his brother was killing a molester, but [the Bangor homicides] were just over f—-ing money, and that’s f—-ed up,” Daluz was quoted as saying.
“Nicholas Sexton does not have a murder charge in Brockton,” Norton Middleton said when asked about the alleged 2005 incident Daluz mentioned.
Asked if there were any unsolved homicides from 2005 in Brockton, she said she wasn’t sure.
A Brockton police sergeant said Wednesday night that he didn’t recall any such crime involving Sexton and declined to look for records of the alleged incident.
“I’m sorry, that is nothing I would be able to comment on,” Procopio said, referring to Daluz’s allegation about a 2005 killing.
Both he and Norton Middleton noted that Massachusetts has privacy laws that bar law enforcement officers and prosecutors from sharing any criminal conviction data.
To obtain conviction data, reporters must check with the individual courts, Norton Middleton said.
“[Sexton] was convicted of breaking and entering in the nighttime … and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in 2003, and disorderly conduct in 2000,” said Brockton Enterprise reporter Justin Graeber, who ran the suspect’s name in Brockton District Court.
Sexton and Daluz are no strangers to violence and drugs, according to Bangor Daily News archives.
Sexton stabbed a 35-year-old Bangor man in the neck early on July 31, 2005, in the parking lot of the Leadbetters Mini Stop on Hammond Street in Bangor. The victim was treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center and released the next day.
Daluz was arrested at gunpoint by Orono police officers on June 6, 2006, for stabbing a 30-year-old Swanville man at the Irving station in Orono.
Sexton was sentenced in 2006 to two years in the Maine Correctional Center in Windham for his stabbing, and Daluz was sentenced in March 2007 to a year at Windham, the BDN archives state. But according to Department of Corrections spokeswoman Judy Plummer, Sexton was transferred to Maine State Prison and the two did not serve together.
Shortly after Sexton was discharged from prison, in early 2008, he was arrested again in Bangor and charged with drug possession. He was sentenced in April 2008 to 90 days in jail and a $400 fine.
Daluz was arrested while in possession of cocaine base by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in 2011. On Feb. 23 of this year he pleaded guilty to felony illegal importation of drugs and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $400 fine.
He got out of jail about six weeks before the triple homicide.
Tuscano’s mother, Cheryl Pavelka, the mother of his 5-week-old daughter, and a dozen other relatives and friends of the three victims were at Daluz’s first court appearance Thursday morning in Bangor.
“We are very, very relieved,” Pavelka said. “We have been very, very impressed with all the work police have done. It’s a great relief that they got them both.”
Borders’ daughter, who is 7, has not been told about the circumstances of her father’s death, Lee said.
“How do I tell my daughter, ‘Your dad got shot and set on fire’?” she asked. “She knows he’s gone and she has an angel. I’ve told her, ‘God needed an angel to watch over you always and he will always be with you.’”
BDN reporters Andrew Neff and Nick McCrea contributed to this story.