BANGOR, Maine — Nicolle A. Lugdon hysterically begged for her life after watching Nicholas Sexton shoot and kill Daniel T. Borders and Lucas A. Tuscano, according to information made public Thursday during a hearing to determine if Sexton, 32, of Warwick, R.I., and his co-defendant, Randall “Ricky” Daluz, 35, of Brockton, Mass., will be tried separately.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson put off a decision on a motion to sever their proposed joint trial. The judge found there was probable cause to charge both men with three counts of murder and one count of arson.
Sexton and Daluz have pleaded not guilty in connection with the deaths of Borders, 26, of Hermon; Lugdon, 24, of Eddington; and Tuscano, 28, of Bradford.
A trial date has not been set but Anderson said Thursday that the trial would be held next April, May or June.
Defense attorneys Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth, who represents Sexton, and Jeffrey Silverstein, who represents Daluz, last month filed motions to sever the accused killers’ trial. Silverstein also sought a probable cause and bail hearing for his client.
In response to Silverstein’s motion, Assistant Attorneys General Lisa Marchese and Deb Cashman, who are prosecuting the case, filed a 24-page affidavit that provided details not made public before.
The affidavit written by Bangor police Detective Joel Nadeau alleged, among other things, that Borders and Tuscano were killed first in front of Lugdon; that the murder weapon was recovered seven months after the killings by a citizen walking along the banks of the Penobscot River; and that the motive for the slayings was Borders’ alleged transactions with a drug dealer who was a rival of Sexton’s.
The Maine Attorney General’s Office, which prosecutes all homicides in Maine, has 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.
The bullet-riddled bodies of the victims were found burned inside a white Pontiac sedan with Rhode Island plates that was discovered on fire early Aug. 13, 2012, 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 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.
“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 last month in an email. “It would be very expensive to try this case twice when the evidence against both is the same.”
Toothaker and Silverstein oppose the plan.
“At the time of his arrest, the defendant, Daluz, made statements denying liability but implicating Mr. Sexton,” Silverstein wrote in his motion to sever the trials.
In the affidavit filed Thursday, it was reported that one of Daluz’s former cellmates told police that Daluz admitted killing Lugdon. Silverstein said after Thursday’s hearing that his client maintains the conversation didn’t happen.
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.”
Sexton and Daluz came to the Bangor area in Sexton’s rental car several days before the murders to sell narcotic painkillers, according to information in the affidavit. The night of Aug. 12, 2012, the men spent at least an hour at Carolina’s Sports Bar.
Daluz told Bangor police detectives that Sexton said at the bar he was upset with Borders because he was buying drugs from another dealer. One of those dealers was Lugdon, according to Lugdon’s sister, who was dating Borders, the affidavit stated.
“‘Yeah, [Sexton] said he wanted to do something to [Borders],’” the affidavit quoted Daluz as saying. “‘He wanted [to] rough him up or something. Try to intimidate [him], you know?’”
Daluz said that Sexton dropped him off near a friend’s home in Dedham. When Sexton picked him up a couple of hours later, Daluz got into the rear passenger side of the car.
Daluz described Borders as being slumped over in the front passenger seat and said Tuscano was dead in the seat behind Sexton. There was a “hole in the driver’s side rear window that he estimated to be the size of a grapefruit,” Daluz told police. Lugdon was crying in the back seat between Tuscano and Daluz.
“[Daluz] stated that Lugdon was grabbing him, saying that [Sexton] was going to kill her, and please don’t let him kill her,” the affidavit said. “He said they were talking for awhile and he was trying to talk Sexton out of it and that he didn’t have to kill them.
“In describing how the girl was killed, Daluz stated that Sexton ‘leans over and then he shoots her,’” the affidavit said. “‘Pretty close.’ When asked to describe her position when this happened, he stated that she was sitting upright and Sexton leaned over and shot Lugdon from the front seat.”
Daluz told police the shooting took place in Dedham but he was not exactly sure where.
After killing Lugdon, Sexton reportedly drove to Daluz’s friend’s home in Dedham, took a green can from the garage and put it in the car.
When interviewed by police after the killings, the homeowner, who is not being identified by the Bangor Daily News because he has not been charged with a crime, said he kept a spare can of diesel fuel in his garage. When he looked for it on Aug. 17, he couldn’t find it, the affidavit said.
Daluz said Sexton dropped him off at the Ramada Inn on Odlin Road, where they had been staying. Daluz told police he was not with Sexton when the car was set afire and the bodies were burned beyond recognition, the affidavit said.
Daluz took a cab to a friend’s house on First Street and did laundry. He paid an acquaintance to drive him home to Taunton, Mass., the affidavit said.
On March 24, 2013, more than seven months after the slayings, a man brought two handguns to the Bangor police station. He said that he had found them on the muddy bank of the Penobscot River using a metal detector. One was a .32-caliber Derringer, the other a .380-caliber pistol, the affidavit said.
The bullet fragment recovered from Lugdon’s body matched the Derringer, according to the affidavit. The bullet recovered from Borders’ brain could not be eliminated as having been fired from the .380 pistol. Because of the damage to the bullet and possible rust damage to the gun, a “stronger conclusion could not be made,” the affidavit said. The bullets recovered from Tuscano’s body were too badly damaged to be tested.
Daluz’s statements to police at the time of his arrest 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 was arrested at gunpoint on Oct. 4 in Brockton, Mass. He was transferred to Maine a month later.
“ 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.