SKOWHEGAN — Luc Tieman, charged with killing his wife, Valerie, in August and burying her body in his parents’ back yard in Fairfield, pleaded not guilty Friday to the charge of murder in Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan.
Tieman, 33, who is being held without bail in Somerset County Jail in East Madison, walked into the courtroom just after 9 a.m. wearing jailhouse grays, his hands cuffed in front of him, and sat next to his lawyer, Stephen Smith.
Tieman’s mother, Laurelle Tieman, sat alone in the front row, the only person other than press and court officials who attended the arraignment. She declined comment.
Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen asked Tieman if he had seen a copy of the affidavit in the case, to which Tieman replied, “Yes, your honor.”
Asked if he had any questions, Tieman replied, “No, your honor.”
Mullen told Tieman he was charged with intentionally or knowingly murdering his wife Aug. 25.
“How do you want to plead?” he asked.
“Not guilty, your honor,” Tieman said.
Mullen said the state is asking for a Harnish or bail hearing, and the court is continuing that request on a day-to-day basis. He told Tieman he would be held without bail until further order of the court.
“Is there anything else we need to discuss?” Mullen asked both Smith and Leanne Zainea, assistant attorney general. Both replied, “No, your honor.”
As Tieman walked out of the courtroom, he looked back at his mother with no expression on his face.
Outside the courthouse, as he was being escorted to a transport van by Sheriff’s Deputy Wayne Kline, a Morning Sentinel reporter identified herself to Tieman, who said, “I remember you.”
Asked how he was doing, Tieman did not respond, but when asked if there was anything he wanted to say, he said, simply, “God bless our families; God bless Donald Trump.”
Zainea said outside the courthouse that the case is on order for trial, but she did not know when a trial would be scheduled.
Tieman, a U.S. Army veteran, was indicted last month by a Somerset County grand jury on a charge of murder in connection with the death of his wife, who was 34.
She was reported missing Sept. 9 by her parents, who live in South Carolina, after they had not heard from her for more than two weeks. Luc Tieman did not report her missing. He initially told police she disappeared from his pickup truck outside Wal-Mart in Skowhegan but later said she died of an overdose.
In interviews with the Morning Sentinel, Tieman’s friends said he had been unfaithful to his wife and sought companionship with other women, telling them his marriage was ending around the time she disappeared.
An autopsy report from the state Medical Examiner’s Office says she died of two gunshot wounds to the head and was found buried in Luc Tieman’s parents’ backyard off Norridgewock Road in Fairfield.
Buried with her body were a bottle of perfume, a bag of potato chips and a note reportedly apologetic in nature, according to the autopsy report.
At the time of her death, Valerie Tieman did not work out of the home, but she was heavily involved with the Recycled Shakespeare Company, a theater troupe based in Fairfield, according to her friends. Emily Rowden Fournier, whose family runs the Shakespeare company, described Valerie Tieman as a sweet, caring woman who attended dinner parties at the Fournier home with her husband, Luc.
Valerie and Luc were married two years ago in South Carolina. He had been married previously to Erin Merrin, of Texas, whom he met while they were students at Messalonskee High School in Oakland. Merrin said after the murder that she had been in touch with Valerie Tieman, as Luc was hoping to reconnect with his children, who live with Merrin. He and Merrin have four children together.
Merrin said that there was domestic violence in their marriage and Luc Tieman was ordered by the court to have no physical contact with their children.
Luc Tieman told police he last saw his wife Aug. 30 at Wal-Mart in Skowhegan when he went into the store and she stayed in their pickup truck. Initially he said he believed she took off with another man. Her body was found Sept. 20, and he was arrested and charged with her murder the next day.
Amy Calder — 861-9247