SKOWHEGAN, Maine — The fate of the Anson man accused of murdering Everett L. Cameron three years ago is now in the hands of a judge.
Robert Lee Nelson, 41, is accused of shooting Cameron, 60, to death as the victim sat in his pickup truck on Town Farm Road in North Anson on Oct. 31, 2009.
Maine Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea and defense attorney Philip Mohlar gave their closing arguments in Somerset County Superior Court on Tuesday morning.
Justice John Nivison will render his verdict at a later date. Nelson waived his right to a jury trial.
Zainea said in her closing that despite the lack of DNA and physical evidence, there is plenty of evidence that points to Nelson as the person who killed Cameron, who lived in North Anson.
The three-year investigation by the Maine State Police “kept leading back to the defendant” as the last person who had contact with Cameron, said Zainea.
Zainea said Nelson’s life was consumed by drugs back in 2009 and that half of his paycheck went toward the illicit purchase of oxycodone, Xanax and other prescription drugs.
Both the prosecution and defense agree that Cameron had been selling 30-milligram oxycodone pills that were prescribed to him. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2004.
“Who is Robert Nelson?” Zainea asked. “Robert Nelson is a man who liked his women and he liked his drugs.”
“Every day, all day, he was using pills. It consumed him,” Zainea said.
She said Cameron had filled his prescription of 90 oxycodone pills just two days earlier and had let Nelson know about it.
The evidence points to Nelson as the murderer, she said.
“All the stars and moons would have to be aligned for that kind of bad luck for the defendant,” said Zainea. “Common sense and reason tells us that [the person who killed Cameron] is the defendant.”
One of Nelson’s attorneys, Philip Mohlar, said Nelson was not desperate for pills and the time frame of the reported gunshots on the day of the killing doesn’t fit the time the defendant was there.
“It’s another day in the life of an innocent man,” said Mohlar, referring to Oct. 31, 2009.
Mohlar said Nelson had cut wood with friends earlier in the day. He then met with Cameron while he was on way to his 4-year-old daughter’s birthday party.
According to the evidence, Cameron and Nelson arranged a meeting on Town Farm Road. Nelson testified Monday that he told Cameron he was unable to pay the $35 he owed him from an earlier purchase of a oxycodone pill. He said he left him unharmed.
Mohlar said that after the meeting, Nelson returned home to retrieve a birthday present he forgot for his daughter, changed his shirt and went to the party.
Nelson had many people to turn to in order to obtain his drugs, said Mohlar. He also had a job with steady income and wasn’t desperate for pills.
“Does this fit the profile that he was so desperate to kill Everett Cameron to obtain drugs? No,” said Mohlar. “He has money and drug suppliers.”
He also said a man living near the scene of the crime heard a gunshot at 2:15 p.m. that day. Another witness heard a shot at about 3 p.m. Mohlar said that doesn’t fit the time — about 2 p.m. — when Nelson was there.
“We don’t know what happened [between] 2 o’clock and before 4,” when Cameron’s body was found, said Mohlar, adding that Town Farm Road was a well-traveled public road and others had the opportunity to meet with Cameron.
Cameron had called other drug buyers around the same time he contacted Nelson, he said.
Mohlar said state police did a poor job investigating the crime and focused all their attention on Nelson, while other regular drug buyers of Cameron’s had the opportunity to kill him that day.
“I think the state did have blinders on, and more importantly, are asking you to put blinders on,” Mohlar said to Justice Nivison.
“[Police] never looked to those other people,” said Mohlar. “Mr. Cameron was a drug dealer. There were at least 10 other people he sold to [and others we don’t know about].”
Nelson’s behavior did not fit that of someone who had just murdered Cameron, said Mohlar. After his meeting with Cameron, Mohlar said Nelson went home and then to his daughter’s birthday party, where he played with his daughter and met with family.
“He’s an innocent man,” said Mohlar. “Everything fits with Mr. Nelson being innocent.”
Zainea painted a different picture.
“When Mr. Cameron wouldn’t give him any more pills, he took matters into his own hands and he shot and killed Everett Cameron,” she said.
Mohlar said Monday that it could take as long as two weeks for the judge to render his verdict, due to potential scheduling conflicts.