A Pembroke woman suspected of being a drug dealer was killed in February when she was shot in the back of the head after she had taken heroin, according to police.
Rebecca Moores, 42, of Robbinston pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a charge of murder in the death of Paula Johnson, who was found dead in her home on Leighton Point Road on Feb. 9. Moores was arrested and charged in July with killing Johnson, five months after the alleged murder. She was indicted last month by a Washington County grand jury.
After Moores’ plea on Wednesday, the Maine attorney general’s office released the affidavit in the case, making details about the killing publically available for the first time.
The document, written by Maine State Police Detective Adam Bell, indicates that Johnson was a suspected drug dealer and had been robbed at her house by her son and two other people in April 2021. Johnson, who was 53 when she died, was allegedly supplied by dealers from out of state and, in exchange for selling the drugs from her house, got to keep some of the proceeds from the sales.
Moores was a customer and former girlfriend of Johnson’s, witnesses told police, but the exact motive for the killing isn’t clear in the document. One of the witnesses told police that after Moores allegedly killed Johnson, she returned home the next morning with “two big rolls of money,” one with $5 and $10 bills and the other with $50 and $100 bills, and with “a lot of heroin and cocaine.”
Moores told police that she was present when Johnson was killed but that she was forced to be there by two other men who were “taking out” drug dealers. Johnson shot up heroin and then was shot by one of the men after she nodded off, Moores said.
But when police later talked to the two men, they provided evidence from their cell phones and from their posts on Facebook that they were not with Moores or at Johnson’s house during the time period when Johnson was killed.
Surveillance video taken at a gas station on Route 1 in Pembroke, two and half miles away from Johnson’s home, showed Moores stopping to get gas at the station at around 7:20 p.m. on February 7 and again at around 8 a.m. the next morning, and each time she was by herself in the vehicle.
Police also found a paper towel with Johnson’s blood on it and 9mm handgun bullets in Moores’ car, according to the affidavit.
On Wednesday, Justice Robert Mullen ordered that Moores should continue to be held without bail. Moores’ defense attorney, Stephen Smith of Augusta, and Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, who is prosecuting the case, agreed on Wednesday that a bail hearing could be scheduled at a later date.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Paula Johnson’s age at her time of death.