PORTLAND – In two successive interviews with Maine State Police detectives, Linda Dolloff maintained that an intruder beat her husband and then shot her on April 12, 2009, tapes played in court indicate.

Detective William Ross interviewed Dolloff initially on the day of the attack, after she had surgery for a bullet wound to her abdomen.

Ross talked to her again five days later, when she was considered a “person of interest” but not yet a suspect in the beating of her husband.

The tape of a third interview, done in June shortly before Dolloff was charged with attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and filing a false report, is expected to be played at her trial today in Cumberland County Superior Court.

The prosecution says she beat her husband, Jeffrey, with a softball bat, then shot herself and reported a home invasion to cover up the assault.

Prosecutors contend the tapes show that Dolloff’s accounts lack detail and are not credible. For instance, they note Dolloff maintains she didn’t see the person who shot her even though ballistic evidence suggests the person was only a few feet away.

Her second interview with Ross, played for jurors Thursday, took more than two hours. She recounted the same timeline she had in their first talk: spending a romantic evening with her husband in the hot tub in their home in Standish, making love and then falling asleep in Jeffrey Dolloff’s bed.

Awakened by his snoring sometime later, she went to her own bedroom and back to sleep before waking to noises in the house. Linda Dolloff said she got up, went into the hallway and was shot. The gun was dropped in front of her, she said, and it fired and sent a bullet through a wall when she reached out to grab it.

She then crawled into her husband’s bedroom, saw he was badly injured and called 911.

In the interview, detectives asked about the state of her marriage. Linda Dolloff admitted that she and her husband had been having problems and talked about a divorce, but didn’t say explicitly that they had agreed to terms of a divorce settlement a few weeks earlier.

When police asked whether she was involved with another man, she said, “I’ve had no outside things going on.”

She also told police that her husband “could be” interested in another woman, but she had “zero concerns” about an affair.

Prosecutors say Linda Dolloff beat her husband after he told her that he would be bringing another woman to their home on the weekend of April 18, 2009, to meet his family. They say that heightened her desperation over the impending divorce and left her feeling like her hopes for reconciliation with Jeffrey Dolloff were dashed.

She mentioned a couple of women who Jeffrey Dolloff had worked with as a consultant in Massachusetts, but said she knew of no “jilted lover” looking for revenge against her or her husband. She also discounted her husband’s first wife as a potential suspect, saying they had divorced a dozen years earlier.

Ross said he followed up with the women who Linda Dolloff had mentioned, but said neither ended up as a suspect.

Defense lawyer Daniel Lilley started his case Thursday, calling Margaret Greenwald, the state’s chief medical examiner.

Greenwald said she saw no discoloration indicating gunpowder on the shirt that Linda Dolloff wore on the night of the attack, suggesting that the gun was fired from farther away than 18 inches, the maximum distance asserted by a state firearms expert earlier in the week.

Greenwald also said the shot, which went through Dolloff’s abdomen and left bullet fragments in her right hip, didn’t threaten any major organs or arteries. Lilley had suggested in his opening statement that Linda Dolloff didn’t shoot herself, in part because the bullet barely missed her vital organs.

Justice Joyce Wheeler said the trial is nearing its end. She expected testimony to end today and planned to ask lawyers for a final summation Monday.

 

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

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