BANGOR, Maine — Four former Penobscot County Jail inmates told a jury Wednesday that they heard Kyle Dube say he strangled 15-year-old Nichole Cable and hid her body.
Wednesday was the eighth day of Dube’s trial at the Penobscot Judicial Center. He has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murder charges.
John Swan, David Tenney and Kyle Ellis were all at Penobscot County Jail at the same time as Dube in mid- to late May 2013, as was Frank Inman, who is now an inmate at Maine Correctional Center in Windham. Each said they overheard or were part of conversations in which Dube said he had killed Cable or hidden Cable’s body earlier that month.
Dube was serving a sentence on charges unrelated to the homicide.
Ellis testified he heard Dube saying he had “choked some girl in a ditch” and that he was “a really good person” who just does “dumb stuff.”
Tenney claimed Dube said he choked and killed Cable because “she looked like she needed to be killed and he wanted to.”
State police reached out to Tenney a year later, after hearing he had been incarcerated with Dube, asking if he had heard Dube say anything related to the crime.
Swan said Dube “kept saying he was going to be in big trouble.” Swan also claimed that Dube “said he threw [Cable] in a creek, basically.” However, Cable was not found in a creek. She was found in a wooded area near a river.
Inman said Dube told him that he strangled Cable and hid her body in Old Town. Inman reported the alleged conversation to police in August 2013, but reportedly requested an interview three times before it was granted.
Defense attorney Stephen Smith attempted to discredit the witnesses, questioning them extensively about their lengthy criminal histories. Ellis, for example, was arrested in 2009 after a high-speed chase on Interstate 95 that ended in New Hampshire. The defense also argued that the inmates had access to news reports and information about the case after Dube was charged.
Smith called out Swan for stating in 2013 that he had heard Dube say he had buried the girl, not dumped her in the water. Smith also asked the former inmates whether they brought information related to Dube’s alleged statements to police in hopes they would receive leniency in future sentences. Only Inman admitted to asking for a reduced sentence in return for the information.
Robert Soucy, a corrections officer with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office, also took the stand. He said that when Dube came to the jail on May 17 to turn himself in, he had two women with him who were “unusually emotional.”
Soucy said he asked what was wrong, as Dube was only expected to serve 30 days, which is “no big deal,” Soucy said.
The corrections officer told the jury that Dube responded by saying, “What I’m worried about is what they don’t know I’ve done.”
The bulk of Wednesday’s proceedings were spent watching a videotaped interview in which state police detectives questioned Dube about events around the time of Cable’s disappearance. The interview took place on the night of May 16, 2013, the Thursday after Cable disappeared from her home.
After more than three hours of reviewing cellphone records, texting and social media messaging histories, and laying out timelines, Maine State Police Detective Jay Pelletier confronted Dube during the interview.
“We know that you’re Bryan [Butterfield], what we’re looking for now is where Nichole [Cable] is,” Pelletier said.
Dube’s voice rose above a murmur for the first time during the interview.
“I’m Bryan?” Dube responded. “Don’t call me Bryan, I’m not Bryan.”
At the time of the interview, police still were searching for Cable but believed it unlikely that she would be found alive, according to Pelletier. Police found her remains on May 20, 2013, in a wooded area near the Stillwater River in Old Town.
Dube, 21, is accused of killing Cable and hiding her body. Police believe he lured the 15-year-old from from her house by posing as someone named Bryan Butterfield on Facebook. Dube allegedly planned to kidnap the girl, hide her, then find her and play the hero.
Dube, wearing a black long-sleeved shirt, spent most of the video-recorded interview hunched over with his elbows propped on his jeans, looking at his hands or the floor, glancing up on occasion to listen to or answer one of the investigators.
Detectives spent the early part of the interview reading Dube his rights and chatting with him about his daughter, experience in high school and hobbies.
They spent the bulk of the interview trying to get Dube to lay out the series of events leading up to Cable’s May 12 disappearance. Dube tried to map out routes he drove after work on the night of Cable’s disappearance using an atlas. His time estimates did not match up with cellphone records, and his memory of where he had been did not match up with cellphone tower hits, detectives said.
They tried to fill in gaps in that timeline, such as an hourlong period between when Dube reportedly left work on the night of Cable’s disappearance and when he went to pick up his then-girlfriend. Dube claimed he “just drove around” to clear his head during that time.
Near the end of the interview, Pelletier explained IP addresses and said that police could prove that “Bryan Butterfield’s” Facebook page had been created on Dube’s computer. He said he had “no doubt” that Dube had created the Facebook profile that was used to convince Cable to leave home and go to the road where she was kidnapped.
Dube’s statements in the video were evidence to be considered by the jury, but the detectives’ statements were not, Justice Ann Murray instructed jurors.
After the video ended, Smith asked Pelletier whether Dube had confessed to police during that interview or a separate three-hour interview showed earlier in the trial. Dube had not confessed, according to Pelletier.
Earlier in the trial, Dube’s ex-girlfriend testified that Dube confessed to her that he had killed Cable.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.