BANGOR, Maine — One of two men on trial for killing three people then setting the car their bodies were in on fire in August 2012 will take the stand Monday in his own defense at the Penobscot Judicial Center, his attorney said Friday.
Nicholas Sexton, 33, of Warwick, Rhode Island, will “explain what really happened,” his attorney Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth said after court recessed for the day.
Sexton, who never made a statement to police, had been prepared to take the stand Friday but Superior Court Justice William Anderson sent jurors home for the day after they returned from the lunch break.
The state rested after jurors left the courthouse.
“The judge wanted them to hear the testimony and cross-examination on the same day,” Toothaker said on the 12th day of testimony.
Toothaker declined to tell reporters who Sexton would say was responsible for the deaths of three people.
The charred bodies of Nicolle A. Lugdon, 24, of Eddington; Daniel T. Borders, 26, of Hermon; and Lucas A. Tuscano, 28, of Bradford were found in a burning rental car on Aug. 13, 2012, in Bangor. Lugdon and Borders died of gunshot wounds, according to Dr. Michael Ferenc, formerly of the state medical examiner’s office. He also determined that Tuscano died of head trauma and could have been shot.
Sexton and Randall Daluz, 36, of Brockton, Massachusetts, known by the nickname “Ricky” or “Money,” have pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and one count of arson in connection with the deaths. Investigators have described the slayings as a drug deal gone bad.
Daluz told police when he was arrested that Sexton killed all three victims, according to a police affidavit filed last year. Daluz later told a cellmate that Sexton had killed Borders and Tuscano but he had killed Lugdon, the affidavit said. It was decided before the trial began that jurors would not hear those statements.
A firearms examiner with the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory told jurors last week that the bullet from Lugdon’s body matched a .32 caliber derringer found in March 2013 in the Penobscot River. A bullet fragment from Border’s body was part of a .380 caliber bullet. A .380 caliber pistol was found in the river with the derringer, according to testimony.
Former Bangor resident Katelyn Lugdon, 19, has testified that she saw both defendants with guns like those found in the river on Aug. 11, 2012. She is the sister of Nicolle Lugdon and was living with Borders.
Detective Leonard Bolton testified Thursday morning that he reviewed the cellphone records of the victims. One of two members of the Maine State Police trained to interpret cellphone records, Bolton testified that the victims’ phones and the defendants’ phones used the same cellphone towers or nearby towers between about 11 and 11:20 p.m. Aug. 12, 2012.
Testimony on Friday morning again focused on cellphone records that the prosecution claimed tracks the movements of the defendants’ and victims phones Aug. 12-13, 2012. Cellphone experts for the prosecution have said that Sexton and Daluz spent much of the evening at Carolina’s Sports and Spirits, under the Joshua Chamberlain bridge in Bangor. Shortly before 11 p.m., the two left and went to 15 Bolling Drive in Bangor and picked up the victims, according to testimony.
The five of them headed north toward Old Town, Special Agent William Shute of the FBI said Wednesday, but turned around and returned to Bangor. By midnight Aug. 13, 2012, they were in the Dedham area, where Marchese has said Sexton and Daluz got diesel fuel from a friend’s garage that was used to set the car on fire. Then they headed to the area around the Ramada Inn on Odlin Road in Bangor, Shute said.
A car on fire was reported to Bangor police about 3:30 a.m. Aug. 13, 2012, at 22 Target Industrial Circle, less than half a mile from the Ramada Inn where Sexton was staying.
Toothaker, who, along with David Bate of Bangor, represents Sexton, predicted that Daluz would take the stand after Sexton testifies.
Justice Anderson told jurors that they would be deliberating by Tuesday or Wednesday. Jury selection began on April 28.
If convicted of murder, Sexton and Daluz face 25 years to life in prison on each count.