CARIBOU, Maine — Bobby Nightingale, 38, pleaded not guilty to all eight charges against him in Caribou Superior Court Wednesday, including the killing of Allen Curtis and Roger Ellis on Aug. 13 in Castle Hill.
Nightingale was being held on the murder charges at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton and attended his arraignment hearing via video conference.
Justice Harold Stewart ordered Nightingale to continue to be held without bail and pending a harnish hearing, wherein probable cause may be established through the presentation of evidence.
Maine State Police found 51-year-old Roger Ellis and 25-year-old Allen Curtis, both of Castle Hill, dead in a pickup truck on the State Road on Aug. 13. Nightingale has been held at Aroostook County Jail on a previous weapons charge since a week after the incident.
Nightingale is facing a total of eight charges for offenses he allegedly committed between Aug. 5 and Aug. 13.
On Aug. 5, he allegedly broke into a Presque Isle home around 4:30 a.m. with the intention of committing theft and injuring a victim with a firearm, according to court documents.
Nightingale also faces a second charge of illegal possession of a firearm from Aug. 10, along with a charge of criminal threatening with a firearm on the same date.
He was previously charged with illegal possession of a firearm on Aug. 13 in Castle Hill, according to court documents. He made his initial appearance at Presque Isle District Court on Aug. 19, after which he was taken to jail and held on $25,000 cash bail.
Nightingale was previously prohibited from contacting six specific people, an order that Justice Stewart upheld during Wednesday’s hearing, and was not allowed to return to two addresses in Mapleton and Ashland, according to court documents.
Representing Nightingale are attorneys Steve Smith of Augusta and John Tebbetts of Presque Isle.
Smith, the lead attorney in the case, said over the phone on Tuesday, “We believe that after a thorough review of the evidence that Mr. Nightingale will be found not guilty.”
After entering Nightingale’s plea on Wednesday afternoon, Tebbetts said, “This is a tragedy no matter what,” adding that the defense was looking forward to proving Nightingale’s innocence in the case.
Some of Allen Curtis’ family from Castle Hill, including his parents, arrived early at the courthouse and sat through the arraignment hearing, which lasted less than 30 minutes.
“I think this is just a difficult situation from start to finish,” Tebbetts said after the hearing.
Nightingale, who has a criminal history dating back to the early 2000s, has frequently been in and out of police custody.
In 2006, he was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for illegal possession of a firearm and being in possession of a stolen firearm.
Two years prior, Nightingale was sentenced in Aroostook County Superior Court to four years in state prison with all but two years suspended on charges of burglary, theft, criminal mischief and violating conditions of release.
He also was ordered to pay nearly $9,000 in restitution in that case.
Nightingale was arrested earlier that year at his parents’ home after the Presque Isle Police Department used its tracking bloodhound to follow his scent from a Main Street law office to the boarding house where Nightingale had rented a room.
In August 2017, Nightingale and two other individuals were arrested for allegedly kidnapping and robbing a man with a knife at a Caribou hotel. Charges against all three of the accused were eventually reduced in the case. Nightingale pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve 178 days in jail for criminal attempt.
Last May, he turned himself in to police after allegedly firing shots at an Oak Street residence. He reportedly surrendered himself with his lawyer present but denied involvement in the shooting.