Witness refuses to testify in Bangor murder trial

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Bangor's triple murder trial was delayed Monday morning after one witness refused to cooperate. Albert Lanpher, a witness for the state, refused to answer questions about the night of the murders. When asked why, Lanpher told the court he "isn't a rat." The witness explained to the judge he will be spending the next three years in prison and does not want to get into a fight everyday because he testified.

Lanpher told the court he has been friends with the accused Nicholas Sexton for several years and knew Randall Daluz. The witness explained to the court he did a lot of drugs the summer of 2012 when the triple murders occurred and argued those drugs could have affected his memory.

During questioning by the prosecution, Lanpher admitted he had testified before a grand jury back in 2012, but claimed he was unable to remember details because of his drug use.

After Lanpher's refusal, Justice William Anderson called for a brief recess to decide if he would force the witness to take the stand. Although prosecutors argued he was a strong witness, the judge accepted Lanpher's refusal calling it a fifth amendment issue. The state agreed not to press charges for failing to cooperate.

Throughout the trial many witnesses have been reluctant to testify due to their own involvement with drugs and guns. A majority of civilian witnesses need to have their own lawyer present and receive immunity before taking the stand to testify.

Sexton and Daluz are charged with the murders of Nicolle Lugdon, Daniel Borders and Lucas Tuscano, and setting the car containing their bodies on fire. All of them were deeply involved in the Bangor drug world.

Katelyn Lugdon, sister of one of the victims Nicolle Lugdon, also appeared briefly in court. Lugdon was arrested last Friday morning after violating bail conditions, but released after only a few hours. On Monday, Justice Anderson told Lugdon if she violates bail again the state or defense can request the bail to be set higher. This, the judge warned, would keep Lugdon in jail until the trial ends.

Lugdon was originally arrested for failing to appear in court. Justice Anderson decided to release her into the custody of Volunteers of America due to her age and how close she was with the case.

NEWS CENTER will continue updating this story as the trial progresses.


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