SKOWHEGAN — Luc Tieman of Fairfield shot his wife twice in the head nearly one month ago and then partially buried her body, a prosecutor said Friday.

It was the first time authorities have said when they believe 34-year-old Valerie Tieman was killed – Aug. 25 – and it provides a clearer picture of the case’s timeline in the weeks before she was first reported missing by her parents.

Luc Tieman has been charged with murder and made his first appearance in Somerset County Superior Court on Friday morning. He did not enter a plea and is being held without bail at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison pending a bail hearing. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Tieman, 32, is represented by defense attorney Stephen Smith. Assistant Attorney General Leanne Zainea is prosecuting the case.

Outside the courthouse Friday, Zainea said that Valerie Tieman was killed 15 days before her parents reported her missing and five days before the date when Tieman claimed his wife disappeared from a Wal-Mart parking lot.

Mark Belserene, administrator at the Medical Examiner’s Office, said Friday that the death had been officially ruled a homicide caused by “gunshot wounds of head and neck.” He said the office couldn’t release any additional information.

Zainea said the state will ask the judge to deny Tieman bail on the murder charge. The state also filed a motion Friday for a psychological evaluation of Tieman.

Tieman was dressed in a yellow jail house shirt and orange inmate pants, his hands shackled to a belt around his waist and his legs in chains. His mother, Laurelle Tieman, sat with two women and a man in the front row. She declined to comment to reporters as the group left the courthouse.

WCSH video of Tieman talking to the news media before his arrest:

Smith said Tieman is a Army veteran who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Luc Tieman is an honorably discharged veteran,” Smith said outside the courthouse Friday morning. “He has served in combat zones, and we expect that the public will not exercise a rush to judgment. We believe at the end of this process he will be vindicated.”

MARRIAGE ENDING

Luc and Valerie were married June 8, 2014. Valerie at one time was a housekeeper for Faith Evangelical Free Church in Waterville, which the Tiemans attended.

In interviews with the Morning Sentinel, friends said that Luc Tieman had been unfaithful to his wife. Others said Luc Tieman had a head injury from a mortar attack in Iraq and suffered brain damage as a result. Smith would not comment Friday on reports that Tieman may have been wounded or whether he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Erin Merrin, Luc Tieman’s ex-wife with whom he has four children, said in an interview with the Morning Sentinel on Thursday that “there were domestic violence incidents” during their marriage, and courts have ruled he was to have no physical contact with the children.

POLICE INVESTIGATE

Valerie Tieman is seen with her husband, Luc Tieman, in this July photo provided by police.

Valerie Tieman is seen with her husband, Luc Tieman, in this July photo provided by police. Contributed photo

Valerie’s parents – Allen and Sarajean Harmon of Taylors, South Carolina – heard from Luc Tieman on Sept. 8 that she “had left him and that he had not seen her for some time,” a police affidavit says.

They contacted Fairfield police, and the next day officers went to 628 Norridgewock Road in Fairfield, where Luc and Valerie Tieman had been living with his parents, Laurelle and Alan Tieman. Laurelle Tieman said her son and his wife were no longer living there. The Harmons then reported their daughter missing.

Luc Tieman told police on Sept. 8 that he had last seen his wife Aug. 30. He told police he went into a Wal-Mart in Skowhegan and Valerie stayed behind in his truck, but was gone when he returned from the store. The morning of Sept. 13, trooper Hugh Landry went to the Wal-Mart to review its surveillance footage and saw Tieman in his truck – Tieman had a suspended driver’s license and a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

Tieman told Landry “he had traveled to Wal-Mart because it was the last place he saw Valerie.” He also told the trooper that he and his mother “agreed it would be better not to tell Valerie’s parents that she was missing.” Luc Tieman also said he and Valerie had been staying at a friend’s house in Norridgewock. But later that day, when Landry told Tieman he wanted to speak with that friend, Tieman “offered a different story,” that “Valerie had never stayed in the home in Norridgewock.”

Police reviewed Wal-Mart surveillance video showing the area of the parking lot where Tieman had said he parked his truck the day his wife disappeared. It could not be seen between the dates of Aug. 21 and 31. Police also analyzed cellphone records and determined the last time Valerie had called her husband was Aug. 24, for about 13 minutes.

On Tuesday, Maine State Police detectives and the Maine Warden Service executed a search warrant at Tieman’s parents’ property in Fairfield and found Valerie Tieman’s body in the woods a few hundred yards from the house. Tieman “initially denied any knowledge of the body, but then acknowledged it was his wife, Valerie.

“Luc said Valerie had a drug addiction and he witnessed her overdose and die,” the affidavit states. “Luc said he brought home heroin for Valerie and loaded a needle for her. Luc said Valerie smiled at him and then stopped breathing. Luc stated he left her in the bed until late at night and then took her outside and dug the trench and buried her.”

Tieman stayed in a Waterville motel that night, and police arrested him the following morning after an autopsy showed Valerie Tieman had died from two gunshot wounds to the head.