December 09, 2019
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Maine man convicted of 2012 shotgun slaying seeks new trial

Stephen Betts | BDN
Stephen Betts | BDN
Andrew J. Kierstead is led into the Knox County Superior Court on Tuesday morning. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison for the murder of Richard L. Mills.

ROCKLAND, Maine ― A former Tenants Harbor man convicted of the 2012 murder of a Cushing man is asking a judge to grant him a new trial.

Andrew Kierstead, 47, was convicted of murder for the shooting death of Richard Mills at his home in Cushing on Sept., 27, 2012. After deliberating for three hours, a jury found Keirstead guilty of murder following his trial in November 2013. Kierstead was sentenced to serve 45 years in prison.

In a request for post-conviction review, Kierstead’s new attorney, David Paris, argues that Kierstead should receive a new trial because his trial attorney failed to have an expert witness testify on the effects of drug withdrawals. During the trial, Kierstead was represented by attorney Steven Peterson.

Prior to the shooting, Mills had allegedly supplied Kierstead with opiates for a number of years. During the 2013 trial, the state argued Kierstead had used drugs prior to knowing Mills.

At the time of the murder, Kierstead was experiencing withdrawal symptoms and shot Mills after the two men argued about $250 that Kierstead allegedly owed Mills for drugs.

In a petition for post-conviction review, Paris said Peterson should have called a toxicologist to testify on the “psychological and physiological effects of opioid withdrawal, sleep deprivation, hydration levels, levels of alcohol intoxication and ingestion and additional factors as pertains to issues of [the] state of mind of [the] defendant at the time of the offense.”

During Kierstead’s trial and sentencing, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said that after an argument over money owed for drugs, Kierstead lured Mills out of his home to look at Kierstead’s truck, which he said was making a strange noise.

When Mills went to look at the truck, Kierstead pulled a loaded 12-gauge shotgun from his truck and shot Mills five times at close range.

A hearing was held Friday in Knox County Court, however a time frame has not been set for when Justice Daniel Billings will rule on the post-conviction request.

Kierstead has been serving his sentence at the Maine State Prison in Warren since his conviction.


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