AUGUSTA – A Waterville man charged with the October shooting death of his longtime girlfriend and mother of his children entered a not guilty plea in court on Monday.
Nicholas Lovejoy, 28, is accused of shooting Melissa Sousa, 29, twice in the stomach on Oct. 22, and leaving her body in the basement of the home they shared while friends, family and police searched for her.
“It’s just been hell,” said her aunt, April Sibert of Milo, who was at the hearing with Sousa’s parents. “We just want this to be over with and for him to be convicted and put away for life.”
Lovejoy was recently indicted by the Kennebec County grand jury and his arraignment was held Monday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta. At the hearing, the state asked for a mental health evaluation.
“I think, for us, it’s important to preserve that issue early on and get that evaluation done regardless of whether the defense chooses, or what they choose going forward,” said Assistant Attorney General Lisa Bogue, who is prosecuting the case with Assistant Attorney General Katie Sibley.
Lovejoy’s defense attorney objected.
“From our perspective that’s a tactic that the state uses to get another interview of the suspect,” Darrick Banda, who is representing Lovejoy, said after the hearing.
“We didn’t really see a need for it at this point,” he said. “We’re going to have to be deciding whether or not to what extent we corporate with that evaluation.”
Justice William Stokes approved the evaluation against Banda’s objection but also sealed the document so that it will only be used if Banda attempts to use a mental health defense.
A friend who helped to organize vigils for Sousa was in the courtroom. She said she just started working again at the Waterville coffee shop where the victim worked before she was killed.
“A lot of people there are still emotional, very sensitive to the whole matter of all of it,” said Jordyn Towers after the hearing ended. “Just if everyone’s there for one another we’ll get through it better than trying to be separated from each other.”
Court documents show it was actually a co-worker of Sousa who initially called police, concerned for her welfare because Lovejoy was known to be abusive.
The victim’s friend said she planned to attend every hearing, if possible.
“Basically just by being here, making sure that she gets everything that she deserves, which is justice,” Towers said.