The trial of a Maine man charged with killing his wife and burying her in a shallow grave appeared in Somerset County Courthouse on Monday morning.
Prosecuters say Luc Tieman shot and killed his wife, Valerie Tieman, in August 2016. They presented a timeline of events for the jury, including messages between Luc and Valerie's father and police where he claims he would never hurt his wife because he "loved her like Christ loves the church," according to WCSH.
Prosecuters reportedly explained that the last night Valerie had contact with anyone was the same day she was told that Luc was allegedly having an affair. In the prosecution's opening statement, the state told jurors Luc had spent that day with his "new girlfriend" at the Waterville community pool.
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"Valerie's phone records show that Valerie placed 31 calls to Luc's phone from his parent's home in Fairfield. He didn't pick up until 10:30 that night, when he was on his way home from his date with Bobbie Jo," Assistant to the Attorney General Leanne Robbinson reportedly said. "Common sense might tell you that when he got home, there were words."
The state alluded that the two might have broken out into an argument over this, but it was not clear if prosecuters had evidence to prove it.
Tieman allegedly told investigators that his wife had disappeared in September 2016 while he was inside a Walmart. But when Valerie's body was found, Tieman allegedly changed his story, saying he watched his wife overdose on heroin. He didn’t want to upset her parents by telling them, so he allegedly told police he and his brother decided to bury her in the backyard.
An autopsy showed that Valerie had ingested opioids but died from gunshot wounds to the head and neck.
The South Carolina native was buried behind his parents' home along with a bag of potato chips, a bottle of perfume and a note that took "an apologetic tone."
Before Valerie's body was discovered, police said, Tieman worked with police. Tieman's defense team focused on his cooperation with authorities in court.
“This is not a man who had anything to hide,” Tieman’s defense attorney Stephen Smith reportedly said. “He wanted to help the officers find his wife.”
The judge denied the defense's request to present an alternate suspect to the jury.
The trial is expected to go at least a week.
If convicted, Tieman faces between 25 years to life in prison.