James Whitehurst from Arkansas was in town in Newry, Maine staying at the Black Bear Inn when he met Christian Nielson. He came to the area to reportedly deal with a custody dispute and stayed at the Inn providing some handyman services while he stayed there. The two men had no known connections other than they both chose to stay in the same place. Their meeting would have tragic consequences for Whitehurst, and all who remained at the Inn, which was in the process of being sold.
Julie Bullard was the owner the 130 year old Farmhouse style B&B for about 2 years, and had been trying to sell for a few months. She had previously worked in sales for a number of years before owning, then selling a B & B in California. Bullard’s daughter, Selby 30, and her friend Cynthia Beatson, 43 were frequent visitors to the Inn. Julie Bullard had moved to Maine after her daughter lost her husband in a car crash, friends say she was looking for a fresh start for the two of them, but had decided to sell for financial reasons.
Christian Nielson, was working at the Sudbury Inn in Bethel, Maine while he resided in the 6 room Black Bear Inn where he had reportedly lived for over 2 months. His employers describe him in articles as being a good , reliable worker. There is nothing to indicate any strife in Nielson’s life except there was some posts mentioning that Bullard had inquiring about the process of evicting Nielson, but I could not find much concrete to back that up.
Police believe that Mr. Nielson planned ahead to shoot James Whitehurst when he invited him into the woods to see his cabin. There was no cabin, or fishing spot, only a plan to see what it felt like to take another life. Whitehurst was shot, burned and buried in the woods. There are differing reports as to whether Whitehurst was dismembered before being burned.
Then, a full 2 days later, Christian killed the owner of the Inn. Then a day later, her daughter Selby and friend to cover up the first murder.
His intent to cover up the crime must have been something he abandoned because he called his parents and had they come to the scene at the Inn where they discovered the dismembered remains of the 3 women, and 3 dogs. Nielsen led the police to burned remains of the other victim, Whitehurst, in the woods some time later.
Christian Nielson originally tried for an insanity defense but he abruptly dropped it and pled guilty . He is serving a life sentence in this case.
Motive is elusive in this case. Nielson reportedly said that he had had thoughts of wanting to kill someone for years and he wanted to take over the Bed and Breakfast. Other times, the other murders were to cover up the first murder.