PORTLAND, Maine — A police affidavit filed this week at the Cumberland County Courthouse to support a murder charge against a Windham man accused of killing his wife says that evidence at the scene contradicts Noah Gaston’s assertion that he shot his wife believing she was an intruder.
Gaston, 33, told police he shot and killed his wife, Alicia Gaston, 34, in the home they shared with their three children early on the morning of Jan. 14.
He told police he was awakened by noises that sounded like “walkie talkies and things moving downstairs,” Maine State Police Detective Ethel Ross wrote in the affidavit.
After he checked on his daughters, sleeping in an upstairs bedroom across the hall, Noah Gaston “grabbed his gun to be ready for an intruder,” according to the affidavit.
He first told police she was halfway up the stairs when he fired his shotgun, but he later said she was on the first two steps at the bottom of the staircase, the affidavit said. Gaston, who called 911 at 6:17 a.m., said he did not recognize the so-called intruder as his wife until after he fired the gun.
“Rather, the evidence shows that she was standing somewhere between the first and second step down from the top of the landing area of the stairs when she was shot,” the detective wrote.
That evidence includes gunshot residue and blood spatter.
Alicia Gaston died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen that perforated the aorta, the affidavit said.
The 14-page affidavit was filed Monday before a probable cause hearing held that afternoon and Tuesday before Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy, according to the Maine attorney general’s office. Murphy took the matters under advisement.
As of Thursday afternoon, she had not issued a decision.
Judges in Maine rarely grant bail in murder cases. When they do, the bail amount is very high.
The affidavit included information from interviews with the couple’s friends. The information paints a portrait of a family under financial stress that included two daughters, ages 8 and 9, and a 2-year-old son. Neither Noah Gaston nor Alicia Gaston, who homeschooled the older children, were working at the time of her death, friends told investigators. He talked of starting a commune of artists so he could devote more time to his music.
Noah Gaston’s version of his marriage and events the morning of the shooting differed from one daughter’s memories as described in the affidavit. Gaston reportedly told Ross that he and his wife did not argue or fight.
He also said “they had a great marriage and it would be excellent if they did not have financial stress.”
But when the detective asked the 8-year-old girl about how often she heard her parents yelling as she said she did on Jan. 14, the girl said: “Sometimes you hear it seven times a week, and sometimes you hear it once, or one time a month.”
Interviewed the day after her mother died, the girl told the detective that the morning of the shooting she had heard her parents yelling in “their scared voices.”
“At one point in the interview she described she heard yelling, heard a [baby] gate falling, more ‘yelling, hear my mom yell sort of more, my dad yell louder, they get louder, then I hear somebody tumble down the stairs’” Ross wrote in the affidavit.
“During the interview, the 8-year-old told me when she opened her bedroom door, she saw the gun on the floor in the hallway and described ‘it was very stinky, like a weird smell in the air,’ which she went on to describe as a smell ‘mixed with a little blood and smoke,’” Ross wrote in the affidavit.
One of two friends who picked Gaston up at the Windham Police Station after his interview the day his wife died described Gaston as “very calm.” The friend said Gaston was talking about the lyrics to a song he had written the previous day that included a reference to a “bang” and children plugging their ears.
Gaston, who was arrested Jan. 22, is being held at the Cumberland County Jail. He has not yet been indicted by the grand jury.
If convicted, Gaston faces between 25 years and life in prison.
The children are staying with relatives, according to a previously published report.