SKOWHEGAN — The case of a Fairfield man charged with murder in the death of his wife in September is scheduled for a pretrial conference in May as he and his lawyer await delivery of medical records, according to court documents.
Luc Tieman, 33, was scheduled for an examination by the State Forensic Service at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta as part of the buildup to his trial, tentatively set for November. Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen has been the presiding judge.
Tieman’s attorney, Stephen Smith of Augusta, and Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, who is prosecuting the case, both confirmed that the examination was ordered by the court. The evaluation will help determine Tieman’s defense and whether he is deemed competent to stand trial.
Tieman is accused of shooting to death Valerie Tieman, 34, and burying her body in his parents’ yard in Fairfield. Valerie Tieman’s body was found Sept. 20 wrapped in a blanket and buried in a shallow grave behind Tieman’s parents’ home on Norridgewock Road. Luc Tieman was arrested and charged with murder the following day.
The examination, to include a neuropsychological evaluation to assess brain function, is to be done under two categories – one for insanity and abnormal conditions of mind, and the other for mental condition relating to other issues, such as post-traumatic stress, according to court documents.
The report is to be sent to the defendant and his attorneys, but it is otherwise impounded by the court.
In her motion for a forensic evaluation, Zainea said the circumstances of Valerie Tieman’s death suggest that Luc Tieman may have had mental illness, including neuropsychological issues. She noted that Luc Tieman was on his way to the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta for crisis intervention Sept. 21, the day he was arrested.
The murder is alleged to have taken place Aug. 25 – 15 days before Valerie Tieman’s parents, who live in South Carolina, reported her missing and five days before Tieman claimed that his wife disappeared from the Wal-Mart parking lot in Skowhegan, although he did not report her missing.
In her motion, Zainea also noted that potential witnesses and people who know Luc Tieman considered him to be someone who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his service overseas in the military. She also noted that he may have been injured in a mortar attack and could have suffered physical injuries.
Tieman is a disabled Army veteran who served in Iraq, Smith has said.
“Luc Tieman is an honorably discharged veteran,” Smith said outside the courthouse after Tieman’s initial appearance in court in Skowhegan.
“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.”
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said in September that the death officially had been ruled a homicide and was caused by “gunshot wounds of head and neck.” Beneath the body were a bag of potato chips, a bottle of perfume and a note that “reportedly has an apologetic tone,” according to investigators.
Tieman pleaded not guilty in November to the murder charge in Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan.
At issue in the case is whether at the time of the alleged murder, Tieman was engaging in either intentional or knowing conduct, as defined by the Maine Criminal Code, or had a serious mental condition that caused him to be unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct.
The deadline for the state to produce what evidence it has against Tieman passed in mid-February.
The deadline for filing pretrial motions in the case is May 18. The state must produce a list of expert witnesses it may or may not use by Aug. 1. The defense team has until Sept. 1 to produce its list of expert witnesses.
Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at: