BANGOR, Maine — Jury selection is set to begin Monday morning at the Penobscot Judicial Center in one of the Queen City’s most gruesome homicide cases, in which three people were shot in August 2012, then their bodies and the car they were in set ablaze.
The trial of Nicholas Sexton, 33, of Warwick, R.I., and Randall “Ricky ” Daluz, 36, of Brockton, Mass., will begin as soon as jurors are seated. The trial is scheduled to take at least two weeks and possibly four, according to Sexton’s attorney Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth.
Sexton and Daluz, also known by the nickname “Money,” have pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in connection with the deaths of Nicolle A. Lugdon, 24, of Eddington, Daniel T. Borders, 26, of Hermon and Lucas A. Tuscano, 28, of Bradford on Aug. 12 or 13, 2012. Investigators have described the slayings as a drug deal gone bad.
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.
Two hundred potential jurors have been called, Toothaker said Sunday in an email. It could not be determined Sunday how many already may have been excused due to health and other issues. Toothaker said a questionnaire would be used “to help us determine who has any prior knowledge of this case from any source.”
Efforts to reach Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese, who is prosecuting the case, were unsuccessful Sunday. It is the practice of the Maine Attorney General’s Office not to comment on pending cases.
“Newspaper coverage of the pretrial stages will be a primary focus, particularly reference to evidence made public via the detective’s affidavit,” Toothaker said Sunday in an email. “We are expecting this selection to take a considerable amount of time and hope a jury can be selected.”
If Superior Court Justice William Anderson is unable to seat a jury, the trial could be moved to a different county. If the prosecution and defense teams agreed on a new venue, the trial could be conducted at any county courthouse in the state. If the parties disagreed, the trial would have to be moved to an adjacent county. Anderson also could set a new trial in Penobscot County for later in the year.
Seating a jury of 12 men and women plus two or three alternates most likely will take more than one day.
Jury selection two years ago in the triple-murder trial of Thayne Ormsby, 24, an Ellsworth native, took 3½ days in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton. In that case, 118 potential jurors were called, according to a previously published report.
Ormsby was convicted on three counts of murder and an arson charge in connection with the stabbing deaths of Jeffrey Ryan, 55, Ryan’s son Jesse, 10, and Ryan family friend Jason Dehahn, 30, all of Amity, on June 22, 2010. Ormsby is serving three life sentences at the Maine State Prison.
Last month in Cumberland County, the trial of a Falmouth man accused of killing his mother had to be delayed when a jury could not be seated from a pool of 106 people, according to a previously published report. Andrew Leighton, 47, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the May 3, 2013, shooting death of his mother, Shirley Leighton of Falmouth. His trial is not expected to be held until October.
Attorneys for Sexton and Daluz had asked that the men be tried separately, with Sexton being tried first and Daluz second. Anderson also considered trying the men at the same time with two separate juries but rejected that idea, too.
Anderson ruled earlier this month that the two men would be tried together before one jury. That decision came less than a month after the Maine attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case, said it would not introduce statements Daluz allegedly made to police when he was arrested and to his fellow inmates since he has been held without bail.
“Randall Daluz continues to object to being tried with Mr. Sexton,” his attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor, said Sunday in an email. “Nevertheless, he maintains his innocence and is looking forward to challenging the state’s case that he had any involvement in either the murders or the arson. The state will not produce any witnesses to establish that Daluz was with any of the victims at or near the time of their deaths.”
If convicted, Daluz and Sexton each face 25 years to life in prison on each of the three murder charges.
They are being held without bail but in separate facilities. Sexton is being held at the Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth, according to Toothaker. Daluz is housed at Penobscot County Jail in Bangor. Both men recently were moved to those facilities from others in preparation for the trial.