BANGOR, Maine — Defense attorneys for the two men charged in connection with a triple homicide last summer that investigators have described as a drug deal gone bad are seeking separate trials for their clients.
A hearing date before Superior Court Justice William Anderson has not been set.
Nicholas J. Sexton, 32, of Warwick, R.I., and Randall “Ricky” Daluz, 35, of Brockton, Mass., have pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and one count of arson in the deaths of Daniel T. Borders, 26, of Hermon; Nicolle A. Lugdon, 24, of Eddington; and Lucas A. Tuscano, 28, of Bradford.
The bullet-riddled bodies were found burned inside a white Pontiac sedan with Rhode Island plates that was discovered on fire early Aug. 13 in the back parking lot of Automatic Distributors, located at 22 Target Industrial Circle in Bangor. The car had been rented by Sexton.
A person was recorded by video surveillance cameras walking away from the burning car, which was discovered about 3:30 a.m. by a woman on her way to work, according to Bangor police.
Assistant Attorneys General Lisa Marchese and Deb Cashman, who are prosecuting the case, have asked that Sexton and Daluz be tried together with two separate juries. As proposed, all jurors would hear the same evidence but one would render a verdict in the Sexton case and the other in the Daluz case.
A trial date has not been set.
“We have asked the court to try them together because all of the evidence will be the same and there is a preference in the law that cases such as this be tried together for judicial economy,” Marchese said Thursday in an email. “It would be very expensive to try this case twice when the evidence against both is the same.”
Jeffrey Toothaker, the Ellsworth attorney who represents Sexton, and Daluz’s attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor, both have filed objections to a joint trial.
“At the time of his arrest, the defendant, Daluz, made statements denying liability but implicating Mr. Sexton,” Silverstein wrote.
Daluz was arrested Oct. 2 in New Bedford, Mass., according to a previously published report. After police placed him in an unmarked cruiser to take him to New Bedford police headquarters, he started talking about Sexton, according to Sgt. Dean Fredericks of the 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 Oct. 3.
“I didn’t kill anybody. Nick did it, not me,” Daluz reportedly told the sergeant. “I’m afraid of him, and I’m afraid he’s going to go after my family,” he added.
Those statements are inadmissible in a joined trial, Toothaker said in his motion. He also argued that it would be a “logistical nightmare” for the judge to have to ask one jury to disregard statements made by Daluz against Sexton or vice versa.
“Sexton claims Daluz’s statement contains a complete and significant quantum of non-truthful, self-serving facts that are not admissible against him,” the defense attorney said. “Since the state hasn’t offered Daluz a deal, the state too must question the veracity of Daluz’s statements.”
Sexton and Daluz are being held without bail. Sexton is being held at the Penobscot County Jail and Daluz is at the Maine State Prison in Warren, according to the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office.