BANGOR, Maine — A Superior Court judge Thursday will consider whether the two men charged in connection with a triple homicide last summer that investigators have described as a drug deal gone bad will be tried together or separately.
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 defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges. A trial date has not been set.
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.
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.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson will hear arguments from both sides Thursday morning at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
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 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.
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 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.
Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.