BANGOR, Maine — Once jurors are selected for the trial of two men accused of committing one of the most gruesome crimes in the city’s history, they will visit the parking lot where three charred and bullet-riddled bodies were discovered in August 2012, an attorney said Monday.
The jury also will walk along the Penobscot River where two guns, at least one of which is believed to be a murder weapon, were found the following March, Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth said after the first day of jury selection. Jurors also will stop at a home in Dedham where the defendants allegedly got the gasoline used to set the car where the bodies were found on fire.
Jury selection in the trial of Nicholas Sexton, 33, of Warwick, R.I., and Randall “Ricky” Daluz, 36, of Brockton, Mass., will continue Tuesday with the questioning of the 93 individuals remaining in the jury pool, Superior Court Justice William Anderson said shortly before 4 p.m. Monday.
Toothaker, who, along with David Bate of Bangor, represents Sexton, said that 200 Penobscot County residents were “invited” to show up Monday at the courthouse in Bangor. About one-third of them were excused before Monday for age, health and other reasons, he said.
A total of 123 potential jurors came through the doors of the Penobscot Judicial Center on Monday. At the end of the day, 93 people were left in the jury pool, Toothaker said.
Anderson said Monday that he wanted to seat 16 jurors, 12 who will deliberate and four alternates. The judge said he hopes to seat the jury Tuesday so the trial can begin Wednesday morning. The trial is expected to last at least two weeks and up to four weeks.
Sexton and Daluz, who is 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.
Potential jurors were asked Monday to fill out a questionnaire to determine how much they know about the case. One question asked if they had “heard or read anything about this case and/or have you been part of any discussion with family, friends or co-workers.”
The questionnaire also asked potential jurors to indicate whether they heard about the case through a newspaper, television, Internet/Facebook, radio or discussion. Anderson said Monday that he would question jurors further about their knowledge of the case Tuesday.
Other questions on the form are standard when testimony about crimes of violence that include the use of guns is expected. The questionnaire asked potential jurors: “Have you, a member of your immediate family, or a close relative or friend ever been the victim of a crime of violence?”
Because the homicides allegedly were the result of a drug deal gone bad, another question asked about illegal drugs. The questionnaire also asked if potential jurors have relatives working for police or prosecutors.
Questions being asked potential jurors in this case that aren’t asked in most Penobscot County cases are about race because Daluz is black. One question is: “Have you or a member of your immediate family had any adverse problems or confrontation with any person who is of a different race or national origin?”
Another is: “Do you have any personal political, religious, social or philosophical beliefs or opinions about minority races that would have any effect on your ability to [consider] this case with complete objectivity, fairness and impartiality?”
Jurors signed their questionnaires under penalty of perjury.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Jeffery Toochaker’s co-counsel as Hunter Tzovarras.