Drugs a factor in Cushing killingSuspect tried to overdose after firing multiple shots
Rockland — While Richard Mills, 48, of Cushing was working under the hood of Andrew Kierstead's truck Sept. 27, Kierstead pulled a shotgun out of the truck and shot Mills, according to an affidavit filed in Knox County court. Kierstead then attempted to kill himself by consuming pills, the document said.
During the investigation, police have learned there was an argument between the two men over money and that Kierstead owed Mills $250 for drugs.
Kierstead, 40, of St. George made his initial appearance Oct. 1 to answer to a charge of intentional or knowing murder. He appeared before Judge Susan Sparaco and did not enter a plea. She set an Oct. 9 date for a status conference. Kierstead is being represented by attorney Steven Peterson of West Rockport. Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald was the prosecutor.
At a news conference on the steps of the courthouse following the hearing, Peterson said he had visited his client during the weekend at Pen Bay Medical Center and he appears to have stabilized. He is aware of the charges, Peterson said.
On Sept. 27, the county's communications center received a 911 call at 7:58 p.m. from Kierstead, saying that he had shot Mills with a 12-gauge shotgun and that he had overdosed on medications at the Mills' residence, according to the affidavit.
Kierstead told the dispatcher that he "had just shot and killed a friend of his." During the 911 call, the man repeatedly said he could not believe he had done this. He told the dispatcher that there was a fight about drugs, stating Mills had gotten him hooked on drugs and had been "feeding him all of these drugs for years."
According to the affidavit, Kierstead asked Mills to look at his truck, a black 2000 Nissan Frontier pickup, for a mechanical issue. While Mills was looking under the hood, Kierstead took a 12-gauge shotgun from his Nissan and shot Mills.
At about 11 p.m., Maine State Police Detectives Dean Jackson and Jason Andrews interviewed Kierstead at the Rockland Police Department. He told them that he was hooked on Percocet, Vicodin, methadone and other pills and he had been getting the drugs from Mills for the past 10 to 15 years. He blamed Mills for getting him hooked on drugs, according to the affidavit.
Kierstead told police he was an unemployed carpenter and had no money. He said that Mills had fronted him $250 worth of pills and Mills would not give him more drugs because he still owed him the $250. They began arguing and that's when Kierstead got Mills to go outside and help him with the noise in his truck under the hood, according to the affidavit.
While Mills was looking under the hood, Kierstead got a 12-gauge shotgun from his front seat and pointed it at Mills. Kierstead told detectives that the shotgun was loaded with slugs and he had fired it before. He told police that he normally keeps the shotgun in the truck and has been sleeping with it.
Kierstead told police that Mills told him to "put it away before someone got hurt" and then he fired the gun at Mills. He pumped another round in the gun and kept firing and did not know how many shots he fired, according to the affidavit.
He told them after he shot Mills he went inside the house and took pills with the intent to overdose. He later woke up and hoped it was a dream, but he went outside, saw Mills and then called 911.
Mills had gunshot wounds to the front of his body from a large caliber firearm, according to the affidavit. As Maine State Police troopers processed the scene for evidence they found five 12-gauge casings near the Nissan and four of the casings were from 12-gauge slugs and one was a No. 8 bird shot. There was a bullet hole on the passenger-side fender of the Nissan and the bullet came from the direction of the front driver's side of the truck, entered the inner side of the passenger truck fender and exited through the front passenger fender.
Inside the residence, police found one empty methadone pill bottle, one empty hydrocodone bottle, one hydrocodone bottle containing four tablets, another containing 27 tablets, a 12-gauge Stevens model 350 pump shotgun, with the safety in the fire position and one cartridge in the chamber and a suicide note, believed to have been written by Kierstead explaining why he killed Mills and tried to kill himself.
During an autopsy, it was determined that Mills was shot four times in the front of the body with 12-gauge slugs and once in the right buttocks with birdshot, according to the affidavit.
Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.