AUGUSTA — Lawyers for a Waterville man charged with murdering the mother of his children in 2019 claim that police entered their apartment without just cause and are seeking to suppress evidence found there.

Melissa Sousa Photo courtesy of Maine State Police

Nicholas P. Lovejoy’s lawyers sought during a court hearing Friday at the Capital Judicial Center to also have any evidence resulting from a traffic stop and arrest of Lovejoy, and the subsequent search of his Gold Street apartment, excluded from his trial.

Officers initially entered the apartment without a search warrant, on the basis that they were there to look for the twin 8-year-old daughters of Lovejoy and Melissa Sousa. Once inside, police saw multiple items that appeared to be stained with blood and later discovered Sousa’s body in the basement. That could be significant, because the blood-stained items — including a pair of boots, some cardboard, a marker, and a roll of duct tape officers — were seen before officers later obtained a search warrant for the apartment.

Lovejoy pleaded not guilty to a murder charge last year, although he allegedly confessed to police that he shot Sousa,

But one of his attorneys, Scott Hess, sought to show, in a hearing that when state police detectives interviewed Lovejoy he had said he didn’t want to answer any questions about Sousa without his lawyer present, but they persisted in asking him questions and said they wanted to hear his side of the story. The hearing was to consider a motion Hess and fellow Lovejoy attorney Darrick Banda submitted to suppress evidence.

Superior Court Justice William Stokes didn’t rule on the motion Friday following a day-long hearing and witness testimony. The parties are expected to file written materials in the case and submit them to Stokes, who anticipates having a final round of oral arguments, in mid- to late-February.


Police initially arrested Lovejoy on Oct. 23, 2019, on charges of having a loaded firearm in a vehicle and endangering a child, for allegedly leaving the children alone in their apartment.

Police had earlier on the night of Oct. 22 come to the apartment looking for Sousa after her friends reported she was missing. Officers had spoken to Lovejoy, who refused to let them into the apartment, arrested him when they saw him driving away from the apartment and then said they had to go inside to make sure the daughters were OK.

Hess and Banda suggested police’s real motive to arrest Lovejoy was to get into the apartment to look for evidence in Sousa’s disappearance. Lovejoy didn’t give them permission to go into the apartment, but police used a key that had been placed under a rock. By then, according to Waterville Sgt. Jason Longley, they’d already seen the brown-red items they believed were bloody inside the apartment, while looking for the girls.

“You wanted to get into that apartment to look for evidence of what happened to Melissa Sousa, didn’t you?” Hess asked Longley, who responded that was incorrect, and that they were looking for the girls.

Banda challenged whether police had a legitimate reason to pull Lovejoy over in the first place. Officer Codey Fabian said he pulled Lovejoy over, in the street near the apartment, because his jeep had a plate light out and it appeared Lovejoy had left the two 8-year-old children alone.

He showed a video that appeared to show the rear plate of Lovejoy’s vehicle illuminated in light. Fabian said the Jeep had one of its plate lights out.


In an interview with police after Sousa’s body was found, Lovejoy allegedly confessed to killing her with a .38-caliber handgun, according to court documents written by Maine State Police Detective Ryan Brockway. Lovejoy claimed Sousa had attacked him and attempted to shoot him, so he retaliated.

Hess said state police detectives continued to interview Lovejoy, without a lawyer present, after he indicated that if their questions were going to be about Sousa, then he wanted his lawyer.

Lovejoy told police that after their twin 8-year-old daughters left for school the morning of Oct. 22, Sousa pushed him down the stairs at their apartment building. He said she then picked up a gun and tried to shoot him, but the weapon did not fire.

He told police he picked up the handgun and shot her twice in the stomach, then rolling her body in a tarp, wrapping it in duct tape and dumping it into the building’s basement.

Friends said Lovejoy and Sousa had been together about 15 years but were not married. They came to Waterville from Massachusetts.

Lovejoy was indicted on a charge of murder by a grand jury in late November. An indictment is not a determination of guilt but indicates there is evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial.

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