Luc and Valerie Tieman Contributed photo

SKOWHEGAN — Jury selection is set to begin Thursday in the trial of a Fairfield man accused of killing his wife in August 2016 and burying her body in a shallow grave behind his parents’ house.

Luc Tieman, 34, a disabled Army veteran, is charged with intentional or knowing murder in the death of his wife, Valerie Tieman, who was 34. The couple had been living with his parents.

Valerie Tieman’s body was discovered by state police detectives on Sept. 20, 2016 – more than a week after her husband had reported her missing. She was wrapped in a blanket with a bag of potato chips, a bottle of perfume and a note that had an “apologetic tone,” the autopsy report said. She had been shot twice, in the head and neck.

Luc Tieman, who served in Iraq and reportedly suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, has pleaded not guilty. The trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday in Somerset County Superior Court. Justice Robert Mullen is assigned to the case.

Tieman contends that his wife died of a drug overdose from heroin that he had given her, that he watched as she injected herself and she smiled at him as she died, said his attorney, Stephen Smith of the Augusta law firm Lipman & Katz.

An autopsy conducted by the state Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the cause of death was “gunshot wounds of head and neck,” and she was “shot by other person(s).”

Her body was found “clad in damp clothing consisting of brown boots, bright yellow/green socks, a grey T-shirt, blue jeans and a navy shirt,” the Oct. 5, 2016, medical examiner’s report said. The report was signed by Clare Bryce, a medical doctor and deputy chief medical examiner who performed the autopsy the day after Valerie Tieman’s body was found.

Luc Tieman leaves Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan in November 2016 after pleading not guilty in the death of his wife, Valerie. Staff Photo by Michael G. Seamans

Fragments consistent with bullet fragments were retrieved from her skull, Maine State Police Detective Hugh Landry stated in the affidavit he filed for Luc Tieman’s arrest. He was arrested on Sept. 21 and charged with murder in his wife’s slaying.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Zainea and Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin are prosecuting the case.

Luc Tieman’s friends have said that in the period leading up to his wife’s disappearance he had been unfaithful to her and sought companionship with other women, telling those women his marriage was ending.

According to an affidavit filed at the Unified Criminal Court in Skowhegan, Fairfield police provided state police detectives with reports and a recording of Luc Tieman’s call to the dispatch center just after 5 p.m. on Sept. 12, 2016, saying he and his wife had gone to the Walmart in Skowhegan to buy food.

Luc Tieman told Fairfield police that he had gone into the store and had taken the keys to his truck with him. When he returned to the truck, Valerie Tieman was gone, the affidavit said.

Fairfield police Sgt. Matthew Bard told state police investigators that they had received a call from Valerie Tieman’s parents in South Carolina, who told them that Luc Tieman had called them on Sept. 8, 2016, saying that she had left him and that he had not heard from her in some time. Valerie Tieman’s parents reported her missing the next day.

Valerie Tieman Contributed photo

On the morning of Sept. 13, 2016, Detective Landry went to the Skowhegan Walmart review video footage as part of the investigation and saw Luc Tieman in a red pickup truck that matched a photo provided by Fairfield police.

Tieman told Landry that he had gone to the store because that was the last place he had seen his wife. He repeated his story that his wife left the truck on Sept. 5 and did not return.

Luc Tieman told Landry that the couple had been staying with a friend on Main Street in Norridgewock, but he soon changed his story, noting that his wife was not staying there and that it was the home of a “rebound girl.”

Video from the Walmart reviewed by state police did not show Luc Tieman’s truck in the store’s parking lot on any days between Aug. 21 and Aug. 31, 2016, the affidavit said. A detective with the state police Cell Phone Analysis Unit determined that the last call Valerie Tieman made to Luc was on Aug. 24, 2016. The call lasted 13 minutes, 33 seconds.

Police believe she was killed on Aug. 25, 2016.

On Sept. 20, 2016, Maine State Police and the Maine Warden Service searched at his parents’ home and found Valerie Tieman’s body partially buried in a wooded area behind the house.

Investigators with the state police and Maine Warden Service look for evidence in the death of Valerie Tieman, whose body was found Sept. 20, 2016, in the woods behind 628 Norridgewock Road in Fairfield. Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Luc Tieman initially denied any knowledge of the body, but later changed his statement, saying his wife had a drug addiction and that he had witnessed her overdose and die.

“Luc said he brought home heroin for Valerie and loaded a needle for her,” Landry wrote in the court affidavit. “Luc said Valerie took the needle and injected herself with the heroin. 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.”

The autopsy done the next day determined that Valerie Tieman had died from two gunshot wounds to the head and neck.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

[email protected];

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow;http://twitter.com/Doug_Harlow

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