PORTLAND – A ruse by state police didn’t make Linda Dolloff change her account of April 12, 2009, when she says an intruder broke into her home in Standish, beat her husband and then shot her.

The tactic, called a “pretext call,” involved Jeffrey Dolloff calling his wife about six weeks after the attack that left him near death.

Maine State Police told him they hadn’t been getting “good information” about the case and hoped that a call from him to his wife, asking her about the night he was attacked, would elicit some leads or even an incriminating statement.

But the tape of the call, played in court Friday during Linda Dolloff’s trial, indicated that she told him the same version of events — that an intruder had come into the home, beaten Jeffrey Dolloff with a softball bat and shot her in the abdomen before fleeing.

Prosecutors say Linda Dolloff was desperate over an impending divorce when she beat her husband, shot herself and called 911 to report a home invasion to cover up the assault.

She is charged with attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and filing a false report.

Jeffrey Dolloff’s call in late May was apparently the first time the two had talked since the attack. He had been beaten in the head and upper body and remained unconscious for about a month after the assault.

His last memory before regaining consciousness in a hospital was of the morning of April 11, about 18 hours before the assault.

He was subsequently transferred to the New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland, where police approached him about making the call.

On the tape played in Cumberland County Superior Court, Linda Dolloff sounds surprised to hear from her husband, then asks to see him. Jeffrey Dolloff tells her he’s allowed visitors only from a list, and when Linda Dolloff asks to be put on the list, he declines.

Then he tells her he has questions for her and asks what happened the night he was attacked. Linda Dolloff gives him the same account she reported to police.

Jeffrey Dolloff questions Linda Dolloff’s contention that she never saw the person who shot her, adding, “none of it makes sense to me.”

“None of it makes sense to me, either,” she responds.

Jeffrey Dolloff goes on to tell her that she won’t be allowed back to the couple’s home or the attached apartment.

Mention of the apartment referred to an agreement that the estranged couple reached in a hot tub about two weeks before the attack. It was decided that she could stay in the apartment while a divorce was pursued.

“It’s not your home anymore,” Jeffrey Dolloff tells his wife.

After he continues to question her, she asks, “Do you think I had something to do with this?”

He tells her that’s what he has been hearing, but she denies any role, saying she couldn’t do something “so horrible.”

Jeffrey Dolloff replies that only someone who was very mad at him would beat him so badly, and — referring to himself in the third person — “right now the only person pissed off at Jeff is you.”

“Jeff, this wasn’t my fault,” Linda Dolloff says. “Jeff, I had nothing to do with this.”

As they end the call, Linda Dolloff tells her husband that she still loves him and adds, “I haven’t given up hope, you know.”

Linda Dolloff was arrested and charged with the crimes on June 17.

Testifying Friday, Jeffrey Dolloff hinted that he believes his wife was still attacking him while she was on the line with a 911 dispatcher.

The recording of the 911 call includes a roughly six-minute stretch in which Linda Dolloff apparently put down the phone and walked into her husband’s bedroom, calling his name.

The tape includes loud noises in the background, which have not yet been explained by prosecutors or defense lawyers.

Jeffrey Dolloff, who said he has listened to the 911 recording “30 to 40 times,” disputed defense attorney Daniel Lilley’s contention that Linda Dolloff saved her husband’s life by making that call and getting paramedics to the house.

Dolloff said the 911 operator saved his life by “getting her out of my room,” suggesting that the noises were a continuation of the attack until the 911 dispatcher called Linda Dolloff back to the phone.

But Lilley lent more credence to Linda Dolloff’s contention that she and her husband had a romantic evening before the attack — despite the looming divorce — by sharing a bottle of wine in the hot tub and making love before she returned to her separate bedroom.

He said evidence will show Jeffrey Dolloff’s DNA on one of the wine glasses found by the hot tub.

Jeffrey Dolloff will return to the witness stand when the trial resumes on Monday.

 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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