BELFAST, Maine — The Brooks man authorities say shot and killed his wife after she nagged him about the cost of a new muffler entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment in Waldo County Superior Court on Friday.

Michael Littlefield, 48, nodded his head up and down when Justice Jeffrey Hjelm asked him whether he understood the charge of intentional or knowing murder in the shooting of his 49-year-old wife, Deborah Littlefield. He quietly replied “not guilty” when Hjelm asked him how he intended to plead to the charge.

The proceeding lasted about 10 minutes after which Littlefield was removed from the courtroom and taken to Kennebec County Jail, where he is being held without bail.

During the arraignment, defense attorney Richard Hartley of Bangor advised Hjelm that he could file a motion for a bail hearing at a later date. Hartley and Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea also agreed to Hjelm’s ruling that any pretrial motions in the case would be filed within 90 days.

Littlefield is expected to stand trial next year.

According to a police affidavit filed with the case, Littlefield told a friend that he shot his wife because she had been nagging him over the cost of a muffler for his truck. The shooting took place in the kitchen of the couple’s Veterans Highway home in Brooks on Friday, June 25, police said in the document. After shooting his wife, Littlefield slumped to the floor next to her body and contemplated taking his own life, according to the affidavit.

After interviewing witnesses and family members, Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews wrote in his report that Littlefield told them he had “blowed” his wife’s “brains out,” after he “couldn’t take it anymore.”

Police were alerted to the killing at 7:08 p.m. June 25, when Sherrill Littlefield called the Waldo County Communications Center to report that her sister-in-law Debbie was dead.

When Sgt. Dale Brown of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department arrived at the home 15 minutes later, he found Deborah Littlefield lying dead on the kitchen floor and the home empty. A short time later, Michael Littlefield’s sister Nancy Whitcomb called the dispatch center to report that her brother had arrived at her home to tell her he had “shot and killed his wife,” according to the affidavit.

Police also determined that at approximately the same time Sherrill Littlefield was reporting the shooting, Michael Littlefield had stopped at the Monroe home of his friend Donald Nickerson to tell him he had “shot his wife in the head” about four hours earlier, according to the court document. Nickerson told police that as he spoke with Litttlefield he observed a rifle inside his pickup truck. Nickerson went on to tell Detective Andrews that Littlefield told him his wife “had been ragging his ass” about the new muffler.

“Mr. Nickerson stated this was the reason Michael had given him for shooting his wife,” Andrews reported.

Littlefield told Nickerson that after shooting his wife, he lay beside her body and attempted to “get up the nerve to shoot himself,” but could not do so, according to the affidavit.

Michael Littlefield has had a few minor run-ins with the law in the past but up to that point had no record of violent crimes, and the couple did not seem to have a history of domestic abuse, according to police.