Trial in Webster Plantation double homicide begins Monday

Posted May 22, 2011, at 1:48 p.m.
Last modified May 22, 2011, at 4:09 p.m.
Nathaneal K. Nightingale
Penobscot County Jail | Penobscot County Jail
Nathaneal K. Nightingale

BANGOR, Maine — The trial of a Burlington man charged with slaying a Webster Plantation couple 18 months ago is scheduled to begin Monday with opening statements to the jury.

Nathaneal K. Nightingale, 32, allegedly shot and killed Michael Miller Sr. and Valerie Miller, both 47, in the kitchen of their Tucker Ridge Road mobile home on Nov. 28, 2009.        

Michael Miller was a recently laid-off millworker; Valerie Miller, a housewife. Both died of small-caliber gunshot wounds to the head, according to Dr. Margaret Greenwald, the state’s chief medical examiner.

Nightingale was arrested two weeks later and charged with two counts of intentional or knowing murder. He pleaded not guilty to both counts in March 2010 after being indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury in December 2009.

He has been held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail while awaiting trial.

“It’s come to my attention,” attorney Jeffrey Silverstein said after Nightingale’s first court appearance about 48 hours after the defendant’s arrest, “that my client has made some statements acknowledging his responsibility in these deaths. He is extremely remorseful.

“It was never his intention to cause these deaths,” Silverstein said. “The Millers were his friends. He told me this was a horrendous series of accidents.”

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson has declined to comment on the case. It is the practice of the Maine Attorney General’s Office not to comment on pending cases.

Nightingale told police he was a family acquaintance of the Millers and sat with a forensic artist to create a composite sketch of a suspect woman who is not believed to exist, according to previously published reports.

The defendant has one prior conviction for operating under the influence in Rangeley in May 2005 for which he paid a $500 fine.

Nightingale is a 1997 graduate of Penobscot Valley High School in Howland and was a member of the Howlers’ wrestling team that won 72 straight meets. His team was among those that had won five consecutive state titles and two Penobscot Valley Conference crowns and ranked among the top 50 high schools nationally.

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