Murder trial for Tenants Harbor man set for November 2013

Andrew Kierstead (right) makes an initial appearance in Rockland, Maine, District Court, Monday afternoon, Oct. 1, 2012, accompanied by his attorney Steven Peterson. Kierstead, of Tenants Harbor, is charged with murder in the shotgun killing of 48-year-old Richard Mills on Thursday.
Stephen Betts | BDN
Andrew Kierstead (right) makes an initial appearance in Rockland, Maine, District Court, Monday afternoon, Oct. 1, 2012, accompanied by his attorney Steven Peterson. Kierstead, of Tenants Harbor, is charged with murder in the shotgun killing of 48-year-old Richard Mills on Thursday.
Posted Dec. 26, 2012, at 1:57 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — A forensic evaluation has been ordered to determine the mental status of a 40-year-old Tenants Harbor man accused of the Sept. 27 shotgun slaying of his friend in Cushing.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm also scheduled the trial of Andrew J. Kierstead for November 2013 in Knox County Superior Court. Kierstead has been charged with murder in connection with the death of 48-year-old Richard Mills of Cushing.

Hjelm ordered the Maine State Forensic Service evaluate Kierstead to determine whether the defendant is insane or has an abnormal condition of mind.

The defense had earlier argued against an examination, saying it was premature. The defense has since dropped its opposition to the examination that was sought by the Maine attorney general’s office.

Defense attorney Steven Peterson has said that his client’s state of mind at the time of the shooting will be critical to his case. Kierstead, who has pleaded not guilty, has been held without bail at the Knox County Jail since his arrest on the evening of the shooting.

Kierstead has since been indicted by a Knox County grand jury.

In an affidavit filed by police after the shooting, investigators said Kierstead told them that he fired a shotgun repeatedly at Mills outside the victim’s home at 40 Far Meadow Lane in Cushing because the victim had hooked him on drugs and had been supplying him for 10 or 15 years, but then shut him off for not paying money owed.

Kierstead told police that after he shot Mills, he took pills with the intent to overdose, according to the affidavit. He also told police that when he woke up, he hoped he had been dreaming, but then saw Mills outside and called 911.

Investigators said they found five 12-gauge casings near the truck and one gunshot hole in the truck.

Inside the residence, officers found a suicide note believed to have been written by Kierstead that explained why he shot Mills. The shotgun was found and so was one empty methadone pill bottle, one empty hydrocodone bottle, one hydrocodone bottle containing four tablets and one hydrocodone bottle containing 27 tablets.

The autopsy performed on Sept. 28 by the Maine medical examiner’s office found four wounds to Mills’ front with 12-gauge slugs and one birdshot wound to his right buttock.

In a 911 call reviewed by state police, Kierstead allegedly told the dispatcher that he killed Mills over “f…ing drugs and sh..” He went on to say that Mills had “just totally f…ed up my life.”

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