WISCASSET – After an emotional hearing that lasted hours, two Waldoboro residents were sentenced to prison Monday for their roles in the stabbing murder of Rachel Grindal and attempted murder of Tracey Neild in Waldoboro last year.

Earl “Buddy” Bieler III, 25, was sentenced by Justice Andrew Horton in Lincoln County Superior Court to serve 55 years in prison for murdering the 27-year-old Grindal and attempting to murder Neild the night of April 19, 2009, at Neild’s home on Controversy Lane.

Corina Durkee, 44, was sentenced to 15 years for her role as an accomplice in the crimes.

Neild, the Waldoboro woman whose life — and voice — were almost permanently silenced when her throat was slashed last year by the two people she thought were her friends, finally spoke Monday during the hearing.

“I will never be the same again,” she said as she breathed with shuddering gasps through a tracheotomy tube. “They have made me a prisoner within myself.”

The sentences are not enough, said Neild, 33, whose throat was cut so deeply her head was almost severed.

“Justice was not served today,” she said after the hearing.

It was the first time she had faced her attackers since the terrifying night that Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea described as a “bloodbath.”

“I knew I was going to die. I will never forget (Bieler’s) eyes, the way he looked at me,” Neild said. “I have lived the past year in constant fear of Corina and Buddy. I have not seen one ounce of remorse from either one of them since that horrible night.”

Both Bieler and Durkee last month pleaded guilty to Grindal’s murder — Bieler to charges of murder, aggravated attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault, burglary and theft, and Durkee to the lesser charges of felony murder, attempted murder and burglary.

Bieler stood up to give a statement to Grindal’s family, Neild and Justice Horton. He said he had no good explanation for what happened that night and he could not apologize enough.

“I can’t ask you to forgive me because I’ll never forgive myself,” Bieler said. “I don’t understand myself what happened. I don’t fathom it. I don’t know if I ever will.”

Zainea said the violent attacks in Neild’s driveway came as the culmination of a “crime spree” that began after Grindal and Neild apparently drove Durkee and Bieler to the home of a Warren woman where Bieler tried to collect on a drug debt.

After a verbal and physical confrontation there, Durkee and Bieler — who were romantically involved — were dropped off at their home on Dutch Neck Road. From there, Zainea said, they went to Goodnow’s Market in Waldoboro around 7 p.m., where Bieler brandished a handgun and then stole some alcohol. The two then continued to Neild’s home to collect money they thought Neild owed them.

During these events, Durkee was always at Bieler’s side, Zainea said. “She was not an innocent bystander,” she said.

But DNA and blood spatter evidence at the scene have shown it was Bieler who wielded the knife, first across Neild’s throat, Zainea said, then into Grindal, who was still behind the wheel of her mother’s minivan.

Neild told the court she believes the evidence is not correct. “Corina jumped on my back and cut my throat. I felt hot liquid all over me,” she said.

Neild and her family said they did not agree with the plea bargain state prosecutors made with Durkee’s defense attorney Philip Cohen.

“Please do not accept Corina’s plea,” Neild urged the justice. “How can 10 years in the Women’s Center be justice?”

Cohen said after the hearing that, with good behavior, his client might be released after 11 years in custody.

Bieler had not made a plea bargain, but during the hearing, Zainea recommended he serve a 70-year sentence.


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