Meanwhile, Back in Wisconsin: Nathan Middleton Makes First Court Appearance Connected With The Death of Aprina Paul
First off, here is the criminal complaint against Nathan Middleton. It’s a doozy. The two felonies he is charged with carry a maximum, combined sentence of almost 33 years in jail. And they’ve made the bond high enough—$100,000—so that his sorry ass won’t get out without someone really feeling the financial hurt and wondering whether he is worth it all.
If Middleton manages to bond out, he is prohibited from approaching or getting anyone else to approach Aprina Paul’s family.
Middleton became a suspect shortly after Paul was reported missing by her family on Oct. 29.
A review of Paul’s cellphone records by Fitchburg police showed an exchange of more than 60 text messages with Middleton’s cellphone over a nine-hour period on Oct. 27. State Department of Justice analysts plotted the points of Paul’s last cellphone calls to areas near his home at 12016 W. Highway 14.
Middleton told Fitchburg detectives that Paul responded to his ad on Craigslist and he understood that she was an escort named Lilly.
He initially denied meeting her and said he deleted the texts so his fiancee, Brittney Humphrey — whom he called his wife — wouldn’t find out.
After Middleton changed his story and told detectives he had sex with Paul and then dropped her off in Stoughton, a Fitchburg detective arrested him.
Okay, this is media shorthand, but you really do have to read the criminal complaint to get the complete lowdown.
Here is where Middleton started lying to authorities after they had gotten hold of Aprina’s cellphone records and had pin-pointed who she was talking to 66 times that fatal day, and where Middleton was. Middleton then volunteered to be interviewed:
Detective Folkers reports that the defendant voluntarily responded to the Fitchburg Police Department and was interviewed. The defendant confirmed that he resides at 12016 Highway 14, Evansville, Rock County, Wisconsin […]. When asked about Aprina, the defendant stated that he knew her as “Lilly.” The defendant stated that the text messages started on Sunday morning and he communicated with Aprina periodically throughout the day on October 27, 2013.
You know what that probably consisted of. Phone sex talk.
The defendant stated that Aprina gave him her phone number over an email. The defendant stated Aprina emailed him through his personal ad which he had on Craig’s list and believed the email was sent on Sunday morning. The defendant said he had an ad on Craig’s List which stated something to the effect of, massage and have a good time and go from there. The defendant stated that the text messages with Aprina were about wanting to hook up with her and the prices were discussed from $100-$140 and that he understood that Aprina was an escort and that is what their contact was about. The defendant stated he knew that she resided on King James Way in Fitchburg. The defendant stated that he deleted all of the text messages (on his phone) so that his “wife” wouldn’t find out. The defendant referred to his fiancée as his wife. The defendant stated that after dropping his wife off in Stoughton at her job where she works third shift at approximately 7:30 p.m. on October 27, 2013 that he returned to his residence and then intended to go to Fitchburg to pick up Aprina; however, the defendant claimed he changed his mind and never showed up and went home.
That’s where the cops had him, because there were definitely “problems with his story.” They had already interviewed Aprina’s grandmother, mother and brother about what had happened earlier that night. After nervously puffing on a ciggie, and after being informed of his Miranda rights, Middleton sweated out his version of events.
Remember, this guy has had plenty of time to concoct a story, and he still may be lying about how culpable he truly is by throwing all blame onto the dead girl. Middleton was already in trouble with the law because he had violated the terms of his probation over a 2005 robbery, and he knew it. The conditions of probation in Wisconsin vary, but more often than not, they involve keeping in touch with a probation officer, as well as offering up a urine sample (which would have indicated whether he had been using illegal drugs) and a DNA sample (if he had been committing other crimes on the sneak). In other words, Middleton was already doing stupid things that would have sent him back to jail anyway. If Middleton did not appear for a scheduled appointment with his probation officer, and not just once but several times, a warrant was already about to be issued for his arrest.
According to the complaint, he brought Aprina to his house where she and Middleton had sex and he paid her $140 for her services. Throughout, Middleton says that Aprina did a lot of drugs, including a couple of lines of cocaine with a dollar bill. Now wait. Just how many drugs did she down? What were they? Did he have some? Now, that last admission of his is a new one, as previous news reports had her smoking weed (which she is alleged to have sold to others) and taking “a tablet.” Note that there is nothing in his story that says that he too smoked herb and shared coke with Aprina, or had a stash in his possession, and I think that this was an attempt to sanitize his actions that evening. It failed miserably. I think too that it was this claim that made Sheriff Spoden even more suspicious that Middleton was not really leveling to authorities about the extent of his culpability, because he was not squaring with them about the kinds of drugs Aprina took. Naming these drugs might have assisted the cops in deciding that perhaps three or more drugs did not interact well in Aprina’s system and might have contributed to her death in the absence of performing toxicology tests on Aprina’s body.
Near the conclusion of Middleton’s interview, he stated the reasons why he did not immediately contact law enforcement or paramedics upon realizing that Aprina had expired. He had hoped that by burning Aprina’s body the “investigation would pass him by” and that he felt “that his whole life was over now because he had gotten rid of a body of a ‘druggie.'”
Can you believe this guy’s nerve? Middleton’s feeling class-superior about who and what he had brought into his own home? He who had committed robbery and done jail time and apparently had substance abuse problems himself? After sending her smut over the airwaves 66 times throughout the day? Whose behavior was worse than the other? Middleton was the one who cheated on his fiancée by contracting for a hooker’s services. Middleton’s the one who burned Aprina’s body. What moral high ground does Nathan Middleton occupy? None. Give me a flipping break.
I still think, though, that this sanctimonious hand-wringing in the jail interview was also a cover. Middleton’s anxiety did not stem from his fastidiousness about having to deal with a dead young black woman. I still think that it had something to do with the performance of some kinky sex act that left her dead, but that’s just my opinion for now. I am willing to be persuaded by other evidence uncovered now and in the future.
As for Aprina’s family and close friends knowing or not knowing who or what their relative or friend did, the results of the interviews are pretty straightforward:
Fitchburg Officer Hilbelink subsequently had contact with Alice Larrue, Aprina’s mother, who stated that Aprina works at Leopold School in an after-school program with children and she did not show up for work on Monday or Tuesday. Alice stated she spoke with the staff there who advised that Aprina did not call in or notify them at all. Alice advised that they checked Aprina’s voice mail and made contact with Virgin Mobile and as a result she believes her daughter may be engaging in an escort business of some sort. Alice advised that in Aprina’s voice mail there were approximately 18 different men asking about dates.
Officer Larson reports that he had contact with Jazmine Weston who was identified as Aprina’s best friend. Officer Larson reports that Jazmine confirmed that Aprina does sell marijuana occasionally and does work as a prostitute from time to time. Jazmine subsequently told Detective Wiza that Aprina typically advertised on Craig’s List under the casual encounters section. […]
Human remains recovered from a search of Middleton’s home have been sent to a Texas lab to be examined, authorities said, with investigators hoping to positively identify the bone fragments as Paul’s and possibly figure out a cause of death.
The lab estimated it will take 12 weeks to analyze the remains, Spoden and District Attorney David O’Leary said Wednesday.
“If and when we get further evidence showing how she died, one way or the other, then we could be looking at additional charges—but not until then,” O’Leary said.
Given the extent of damage to the remains, authorities have said determining a cause of death might not ever be possible.
The two felonies filed against Middleton carry a maximum sentence of 32½ years in prison.
State authorities also have moved to revoke Middleton’s probation from an earlier Dane County case in which he was convicted of burglary while armed. If that happens, he could face another seven years in prison, O’Leary said.
So we are talking a combination of 40 years, which is almost a life sentence. If those tests reveal that Aprina was murdered, it will be murder one. But the authorities are sitting tight. Those bone fragments may not give up the evidence that they need for this charge. They’ve decided to ignore the misdemeanor counts for the moment and to go directly to the more serious charges that would put Middleton in the slam for a long, long stretch.
Middleton and his hapless fiancée, Brittney Humphrey, it appears, seem to be cut from the same cloth but from different angles. They’re both as dumb as a box of rocks, except that Middleton tries to be more cunning. Instead, sneaking around slaps him upside every time. If Middleton had simply come clean and left Aprina’s body intact, he might have been able to prove that she died of a prescription drug overdose or cocaine intoxication, and even an accidental fall. He still would have gone to jail, but not for so long. Instead, he’s staring at murder one on one hand and a near-life sentence on the other.
Did the cops ever do a toxicology report on Nathan Middleton?
What I would like to know is why Aprina felt that she had to become a sex worker in order to make money, and why she seemingly had no other recourse. Nascent young actresses and models, we’ve all heard, have turned tricks for money using Craig’s List. (Reportedly, actresses Marilyn Monroe and Joan Crawford were hookers for a hot second.) A few unfortunate girls have ended up in the morgue, and even fewer still became famous victims of guys like the Craig’s List Killer. But most of these women have been white. We don’t hear much about girls gone wrong in the news, much less black girls like Aprina gone wrong, in trouble, or dead, because their lives are considered expendable. Or even if they manage to clean themselves up.
Working with children in Aprina’s day job, then, became a cover for having pleasure, danger and money. It is almost the flip coin of the young black men who resorted to becoming drug dealers back in the Eighties and Nineties because there was nothing else offering them fast, big money to help them feed, clothe or house their families—and also to look good and powerful as men.
Some of them, if they were lucky enough, because big time hip-hop artists. The others, however, were not so lucky, succumbing to STDs, gunshot wounds, prison and homelessness. Still others, however, got out of that kind of life and eventually became productive citizens.
I’d like to think that Aprina, in time, would have gotten out of being a hooker and moved on to something much safer and mundane, and even satisfying. We’ll never know.
Nathan Middleton’s next court date is December 15.
- 18-year-old’s digital footprint led investigators to Evansville home (channel3000.com)
- Aprina Paul Memorial Held Last Night at Death Site in Evansville, WI (thisblksistaspage.wordpress.com)
- Aprina Paul Update: Former Burglary Accomplice Says Nathan Middleton “Talked of Wanting to Kill People” (thisblksistaspage.wordpress.com)
- Nathan Middleton Arrested on Charges of Destroying Aprina Paul’s Body, Drug Possession, and Pandering (thisblksistaspage.wordpress.com)
- No Mystery: The Circumstances Surrounding Aprina Paul’s Death Strongly Suggests a Homicide (thisblksistaspage.wordpress.com)
- Family of Fitchburg woman tells police she worked as escort (channel3000.com)