PORTLAND – On Nov. 11, 2009, police used bolt cutters to enter William Hanaman’s apartment on Ocean Avenue after relatives and his landlord were not able to make contact with the 51-year-old carpenter.

Music was playing on a stereo and candles were burning inside. On the bedroom floor officers found the body of Marion Shea, Hanaman’s ex-girlfriend. The 47-year-old mother of five had been stabbed to death. They also found Hanaman, curled up next to her, barely conscious and unresponsive. He had written a suicide note and overdosed on Shea’s prescription pills.

Just over a year later, Hanaman will stand trial for murder.

Jury selection is scheduled for today at Cumberland County Superior Court, with opening statements likely to follow on Tuesday. The trial is expected to last about a week.

Hanaman’s defense is simple: He claims Shea was the one who attacked him, and he stabbed her to protect himself.

“He is going to testify,” said Hanaman’s lawyer, Robert Levine of Portland. “It will be a case of self-defense, and his testimony is crucial.”

Levine said the forensic evidence in the case is complex, but there is some evidence to back up Hanaman’s story. Some of Shea’s skin cells were on the handle of the knife, Levine said.

Levine also hopes to introduce some of Shea’s medical records. Justice Thomas Warren is expected to decide on that motion before the trial begins.

“She has an extensive history of treatment at the hospital for various alcohol- and drug-related incidents. My sense is that the jury should have a full picture of her mental condition on the night in question,” Levine said.

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, will ask the judge to exclude Shea’s health records. Zainea declined to comment on the facts of the case or trial strategy.

Hanaman dated Shea for years. Shea lived with a son in Gorham but had spent much of her time at Hanaman’s apartment on Ocean Avenue.

On Oct. 7, 2009, Hanaman was charged with domestic violence assault against her, and one of the bail conditions forbade him from having any contact with her. Hanaman failed to appear in court for his arraignment on Nov. 5.

Then on the morning of Nov. 11, Hanaman’s sister asked his landlord to check on him. She said Hanaman seemed despondent and had left personal belongings at her house. Nobody answered the door when the landlord and one of the sister’s friends tried to get in. The shades were drawn and the door was locked, so they called police, who found Shea’s body and Hanaman.

Police also found loose prescription pills, pill bottles with Shea’s name on them and straws on the floor. There was an apparent suicide note, written by Hanaman, on the kitchen counter. Rescue workers took Hanaman to Maine Medical Center, where he was treated and regained consciousness two days later.

State Medical Examiner Dr. Margaret Greenwald determined that Shea died of multiple stab wounds, and that wounds on her hands indicated she tried to defend herself, according to a police affidavit. Officers found two knives in the kitchen sink, one of them with reddish-brown stains around the hilt. A plaid flannel shirt and a towel found in the closet had similar stains.

Hanaman has a criminal history dating to 1981, including felony convictions for aggravated assault in 1983 and criminal threatening in 2000. He was sentenced to three years in jail and four years of probation for the criminal-threatening conviction, according to state records.

Shea loved cooking, reading, playing games and spending time with her grandchildren, family members have said. She struggled with poverty and drug addiction over the years, according to court records dating back to the mid-1980s, which show several convictions for theft.

Hanaman continues to be held without bail at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland.

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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