An aggravated attempted murder trial for previously convicted killer Franklin Higgins, an inmate at the Maine State Prison, is scheduled to begin March 18.

This week, a motion filed by the prosecution to exclude evidence of an alternate suspect was granted by Justice Joyce Wheeler.

Franklin Higgins, 50, was charged with two counts of aggravated attempted murder May 24, 2011, against fellow inmate Frank Lloyd Millett, 52. Millett was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor where he died June 7, according to a published report.

Higgins has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The defense team — Jeremy Pratt and Philip Cohen — presented a statement of inmate testimony, claiming an inmate other than Higgins is responsible for the death of Millett.

The statement said one inmate overheard another talking about "what he did to Frank Millett," describing how he hit Millett repeatedly with a pipe clamp and then took the weapon back.

However, this statement contradicts evidence, according to court documents. The pipe clamp was found next to Millett's body, and was not taken from the scene.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, presented a March 8 interview with an inmate, where he recanted his statement and said another inmate had told him about the alleged confession, which was the basis for his May 2011 statement, according to court documents.

At the voir dire hearing, he also testified he did not hear another inmate make the statements, and another inmate involved also testified he did not hear the confession, state court documents.

Higgins, Millett and the two other inmates involved in testimony lived in E-pod at the time of the assault and Millett, another inmate accused of the killing, and Higgins worked in the industrial program, according to court documents.

Court documents state there is no admissible evidence offered by Higgins that could reasonably connect another inmate to the crime.

Higgins, who had been convicted of murder April 26, 2001, in Superior Court of Penobscot County for killing a Kenduskeag woman inside her home in 1999, did try to murder Millett, according to court records, by striking him in the head with a pipe clamp while both men were in custody.

The state originally charged Higgins with murder of Millett but changed the indictment after learning there might have been another cause of death.

Higgins is serving 45 years for raping and killing Katherine Poor, stabbing her several times in the neck, according to a published report.

Millett had been serving two 70-year sentences for the 1995 rape and killing of two women in Turner and Lewiston.

Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext.118 or via email at jlaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.