Warwick man convicted in Maine murder trial
Two men were convicted Wednesday in a drug-connected triple slaying in which the victims' bodies were left to burn in a car.
Randall Daluz, 36, of Brockton, Massachusetts, was convicted of three counts of murder and one count of starting a fire in the trial in Bangor, Maine. Nicholas Sexton, 33, of Warwick, Rhode Island, was convicted of one murder count and arson, but the jury deadlocked on two other murder charges against him.
The bodies were discovered burned beyond recognition in a car in a Bangor parking lot in 2012. The victims were 24-year-old Nicolle Lugdon, of Eddington, 26-year-old Daniel Borders, of Hermon, and 28-year-old Lucas Tuscano, of Bradford.
Authorities said Sexton and Daluz came to the Bangor area in Sexton's rental car to sell drugs. Investigators concluded that Sexton was angry at Borders for allegedly switching to another source for drugs.
Sentencing has not yet been scheduled, but both men face maximum sentences of life in prison. Sexton sat with his head in his hands as the verdicts were read. Judge William Anderson warned Daluz to be quiet after a brief outburst.
The jury spent five days deliberating after hearing more than two weeks of testimony. The length of the trial took a toll on family and friends of the victims, said Barbara Ford, a friend of Lugdon's.
"The deliberations were long. We were all wondering what was going on. It was very stressful," she said. "Justice was served today."
The jury convicted Sexton of killing Lugdon but could not reach a verdict on Borders and Tuscano. Deputy Attorney General Williams Stokes said it is too early to say if prosecutors will ask for a re-trial of those two murder charges against Sexton. The state might wait to see the sentences imposed, he said.
Hunter Tzovarras, Daluz's attorney, said during the trial that evidence pointed toward a conflict between Sexton and Borders, and that there was no proof Daluz was in the car when the victims were killed.
Sexton and his lawyer, Jeffrey Toothaker, blamed Daluz for killing all three victims.
Sexton took the stand, telling jurors that Daluz was the killer. Daluz decided not to testify, telling the judge while the jurors were not in the courtroom Tuesday that he didn't want to appear "desperate."
Toothaker and Tzovarras both said they planned to file appeals. Toothaker added the jury clearly considered all of the evidence considering how long it deliberated.
"Anybody that spends 50 hours considering something must have thought about everything we told them to think about," Toothaker said.
During the trial, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese said that all the key parties in the case were members of Bangor's drug underworld, and that the case was "about the sale and use of drugs," loyalty and money.
Marchese said the fire set by the men destroyed key physical evidence and that the killings eliminated witnesses. But she added there was still plenty of evidence to show the defendants worked together.