Suspect pleads not guilty in Falmouth stabbing

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PORTLAND — A man charged with the stabbing death in Falmouth of his former roommate pleaded not guilty Oct. 13.

Kenneth Briggs Jr., 27, was arrested Aug. 19 by Maine State Police for the Aug. 15 fatal stabbing of 67-year-old Roger Nelsen. Nelsen was found in a pool of blood in the Wal-Mart parking lot on U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth at 3:45 a.m. and died two days later at Maine Medical Center. 

Briggs last resided in Portland, but was transient at the time of the time of his arrest. According to state police investigators, the two men were once roommates. 

Briggs first appeared in court Aug. 22, when he was ordered held without bail at Cumberland County Jail. He was also ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, the results of which are pending. Briggs is scheduled for a conference hearing Nov. 18 to determine if he is ready for trial.

According to an affidavit filed by Maine State Police Detective Kristopher Kennedy, Nelsen was found by Falmouth police next to a pickup truck that was registered in his name.

Nelsen told police he injured himself after he was found with stab-like wounds to his neck. However, an Aug. 18 autopsy revealed that Nelsen’s cause of death was sharp-force injuries to the neck, including one consistent with a double-bladed sharp instrument similar to scissors.

The affidavit, which was made public Oct. 13, also said that when Falmouth police executed a search warrant for Nelsen’s truck and cell phone, they found evidence that Nelsen had been assaulted in the truck. Investigators also found evidence Nelsen and Briggs were living in the vehicle. According to the affidavit, Nelsen’s last call was to Briggs.

Wal-Mart security videos reviewed by Falmouth Detective Jeffrey Pardue found Nelsen and Briggs had shopped in the store together on Aug. 14, when they purchased a white pair of sneakers. The pair were seen on footage that evening near Nelsen’s vehicle. Later, footage also showed a man matching Briggs’ description running from the car, and then walking back to it.

According to police, Briggs was wearing white sneakers similar to the ones seen in the security video when he was arrested in Biddeford on an unrelated warrant for failure to pay a fine.

Court documents state that after initially denying he had contact with Nelsen at any time in August, Briggs eventually admitted he was with Nelsen at Wal-Mart on Aug. 14. Briggs told Kennedy he had been lying in the back seat of the vehicle when Nelsen allegedly stabbed him with a pair of scissors “in the upper center of his chest.”

The documents state Briggs showed Kennedy a small cut on the upper portion of his sternum, but it appeared to be “a laceration and not a puncture wound,” according to Kennedy, who did not see any bruising or swelling.

Briggs alleged he was able to take the scissors from Nelsen, and then stabbed him approximately four times in the neck and head as Nelsen was lying in the front seat. According to the affidavit, Briggs said Nelsen did not fight back. Briggs then allegedly ran from the truck, but walked back to retrieve his belongings.

Nelsen was severely injured and moaning Brigg’s name. Briggs allegedly had a cell phone, but did not call for help, because he thought he would get in trouble.

Briggs said he then walked back to Portland.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Kenneth Briggs Jr. in court Aug. 22. Briggs has been charged with murdering Roger Nelsen in Falmouth, and has pleaded not guilty.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or