SKOWHEGAN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A Maine judge has found a Skowhegan man guilty of murder in a drug-related fatal shooting more than three years ago. After two weeks of reviewing the evidence, Justice John Nivison delivered his verdict Tuesday morning in Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan.
Justice Nivison said, "The defendant had the opportunity, the means, and the motive to kill Mr. Cameron...I find the defendant guilty of knowing and intentional murder."
The victim, Everett Cameron, had family members in the courtroom when the judge made his decision and they could not hide their relief or hold back their tears.
Everett Cameron's daughter Nicole Sacre said, "[Nelson] will remain behind bars where he belongs. We are very grateful for this verdict and the closure that this will bring to our family."
Nelson was charged with killing 60-year-old Everett Cameron in his pickup truck on Oct. 31, 2009.
Nelson waived his right to a jury trial. He testified that he met Cameron that day but didn't shoot him. He said he met Cameron to tell him he couldn't repay money he owed him for prescription drugs that Cameron had sold him.
Prosecutors said Nelson was buying painkillers that Cameron was taking for treatment of lymphoma.
The case was based mostly on circumstantial evidence and caused a challenge to the state. Assistant Attorney General Leane Zania said, "We had no eyewitnesses of the shooting of Mr. Cameron. So the state had to put all the pieces together and present all those people to the court. And the court had to make a determination upon that circumstantial evidence whether or not the defendant was guilty."
It was Nelson's own testimony and discussions with police that swayed the judge to think he was not a reliable witness.
Judge Nivison announced to the court, "He initially told law enforcement that he did not use drugs which was untrue. He initially told law enforcement that Cameron loaned him the money. This was not true. He told law enforcement that he did not know Mr. Cameron was dead, this was not true."
Cameron's family, although relieved with the verdict, continue to piece their lives back together.
Cameron's son Everett J. Cameron, Sr. said, "My father was a very good man...everything was taken from my life, my father was my best friend...At least I know now he can rest in peace."
Nelson still has the right to appeal the verdict. The judge did not set a sentence date.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.