PORTLAND – A judge has denied requests for an acquittal or a new trial for Linda Dolloff, who was convicted in May of attempting to murder her husband.

Justice Joyce A. Wheeler rejected the arguments of Dolloff’s lawyers, who said the prosecutor misled the jury during closing arguments and that some evidence should not have been allowed in the trial.

In her written ruling signed Tuesday, the judge also rejected the defense complaint that no reasonable jury could have found Dolloff guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

After a three-week trial in Cumberland County Superior Court earlier this year, the jury found that Dolloff used a softball bat in April 2009 to severely beat her husband, Jeffrey Dolloff, while he was in bed, then shot herself and reported that they had been victims of a home invasion at their house in rural Standish.

Linda Dolloff was convicted of attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and filing a false report. With her motion for an acquittal or a new trial denied, her sentencing is now scheduled for Jan. 7. Attempted murder carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.

Dolloff still can appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. She has been in the Cumberland County Jail since she was convicted May 11.

Prosecutors said Linda Dolloff was despondent over the couple’s impending divorce. She was portrayed during her trial as holding out hope for a reconciliation, until Jeffrey Dolloff asked her to leave the house for a weekend so he could introduce another woman to his family. The assault occurred a couple of weeks later.

Prosecutors said Linda Dolloff grabbed a softball bat that Jeffrey Dolloff treasured, approached her sleeping husband and beat him nearly to death. She then went into a hallway with a gun from the top drawer of her husband’s dresser, shot herself and called 911 to report that an intruder had come in, beat her husband and then grabbed the gun to shoot her, prosecutors said.

Jeffrey Dolloff had no memory of the attack or the day that preceded it.

During a two-part hearing, on Oct. 29 and Dec. 2, defense lawyers Daniel Lilley and Karen Wolfram argued that no reasonable jury could have found Linda Dolloff guilty. Wheeler, who was the judge for the trial, rejected that complaint.

She also threw out the lawyers’ allegations of improper evidence.

In its motion, the defense team noted that Jeffrey Dolloff testified that his life was saved by the 911 operator who called Linda Dolloff back to the phone after she had put it down to check on her injured husband.

Loud noises could be heard on the tape of the 911 call. Jeffrey Dolloff indicated that his interpretation of the tape was that his wife was beating him while she was away from the phone, and that the attack stopped only when the operator urged her to pick up the phone again.

The defense motion said that testimony was pure speculation.

Lilley also argued that District Attorney Stephanie Anderson misled the jury during closing arguments and violated bar rules by interjecting her personal opinions more than a dozen times.

Justice Wheeler agreed that a few of the district attorney’s remarks were improper, but ruled that the transgressions did not prevent Linda Dolloff from getting a fair trial.

For instance, a comment about what Jeffrey Dolloff’s Labrador retriever was thinking while the assault was happening was not proper, Wheeler wrote, but the jury was told that the speculation of attorneys was not considered evidence.

Anderson said Wednesday that she was pleased with Wheeler’s ruling. She dismissed Lilley’s and Wolfram’s arguments as “unprofessional and unfounded.”

Calls to Lilley and Wolfram were not returned.

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

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