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PORTLAND, Maine – Prosecutors have dropped murder charges against a man whose previous conviction for killing his neighbor was overturned.

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A jury convicted Bruce Akers of murder in January 2020 for killing his neighbor, Douglas Flint, and he was sentenced to 38 years in prison, WGME reported. However, that conviction was tossed out in 2021, when a judge ruled that Akers’ trial judge should not have allowed the jury to hear statements Akers made to police before he was read his Miranda rights, according to WGME.

Earlier this month, while prosecutors were preparing to take Akers’ case back to court, a judge ruled that the same statements Akers made before he was read his Miranda rights had tainted other evidence found through a search warrant, because the warrant was obtained using the statements, The Portland Press Herald reported.

Murder charges dropped against Bruce Akers

File photo: Bruce Akers looks to the seating area in the rear of the courtroom at York County Superior Court in Alfred at the start of his sentencing hearing on Friday, November 16, 2020. (Staff photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

In a new motion filed, prosecutors said: “Due to suppression of evidence rulings, the state lacks sufficient evidence to proceed to trial,” The Associated Press reported.

Maine man sentenced to 38 years in prison for killing neighbor with machete

Flint had been reported missing in June 2016 and had visited both Flint’s property and Akers’ house in the hopes of speaking to Akers, the Press Herald reported. When they found Akers asleep and woke him, Akers told officers that Flint was no longer alive and made other statements that led to the police getting a search warrant for the property, according to the newspaper. It was those statements made before police read Akers his Miranda rights that a judge ruled were inadmissible.

Using the search warrant, investigators found Flint’s body hidden under a pile of deer carcasses and debris on Aker’s property, the AP reported.

Akers was accused of using a machete to strike Flint more than a dozen times in his neck and head, nearly decapitating him, as we previously reported. The two neighbors had an ongoing property boundary dispute.