SKOWHEGAN — Luc Tieman of Fairfield shot his wife twice in the head nearly one month ago and then partially buried her body, a prosecutor alleged Friday.

The comments from Assistant Attorney General Leanne Zainea were the first time that authorities have said when they believe 34-year-old Valerie Tieman was killed — Aug. 25 — a revelation that now provides a clearer picture of the case’s timeline in the weeks before she was first reported missing by her parents.

Luc Tieman made his first appearance at Somerset County Superior Court on Friday morning on a charge that he murdered his wife. He did not enter a plea to the charge of intentional and knowing murder of Valerie Tieman and is being held without bail pending a bail hearing.

Tieman, 32, was represented in court Friday by defense attorney Stephen Smith, who has been retained by the family, while Zainea was in court as the case’s prosecutor.

Zainea said outside the courthouse Friday that the murder is alleged to have taken place Aug. 25 — that’s 15 days before Valerie’s parents reported her missing and five days before the date when Tieman claimed his wife disappeared from a store parking lot.

“The cause of death is multiple gunshots wounds,” Zainea said.


Meanwhile, Mark Belserene, administrator at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said later Friday that the death had been officially ruled a homicide that was caused by “gunshot wounds of head and neck.” He said the medical examiner’s office couldn’t release any additional information.

“Fragments consistent with bullet fragments were retrieved from the skull,” the medical examiner found, according to the Maine State Police affidavit of probable cause that was filed in court in support of Luc Tieman’s arrest.

Zainea said a Harnish hearing has been requested by the state but a date has not been set. A Harnish hearing is a process in which prosecutors seek to have a judge deny bail to a defendant accused of one of a handful of serious crimes, including murder. Luc Tieman faces life in prison if he is convicted.

The state on Friday also filed a motion for a psychological evaluation of Tieman. He currently is being held at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison.

Before Tieman entered the courtroom Friday morning, Smith could be seen escorting his client’s mother, Laurelle, out of the room to speak with her. Tieman then entered the courtroom dressed in a yellow jail house shirt and orange inmate pants, his hands shackled to a belt around his waist and his legs in chains.

Laurelle Tieman sat with three others — two women and a man — in the front row of the court as her son’s initial court appearance unfolded before her. She declined to comment to reporters as the group left the courthouse.


Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen asked Smith if he had a chance to review the charge with Tieman, and Smith said that he had.

Smith said his client is a U.S. Army veteran who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Luc Tieman is an honorably discharged veteran,” Smith said outside the courthouse Friday morning. “He has served in combat zones, and we expect that the public will not exercise a rush to judgment. We believe at the end of this process he will be vindicated.”


In interviews with the Morning Sentinel, friends said that Luc Tieman was unfaithful to Valerie and sought companionship with other women, telling them his marriage was ending around the time that she disappeared. Others also said Luc Tieman had a significant dent in his head from a mortar attack in Iraq and that he suffered brain damage as a result.

Smith, his attorney, would not comment Friday on those reports that Tieman may have been wounded while serving or whether he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.


Erin Merrin, the ex-wife of Luc Tieman with whom she has four children, said in an interview with the Morning Sentinel on Thursday that “there were domestic violence incidents” during their marriage, and courts have ruled he was to have no physical contact with the children.

Luc and Valerie were married June 8, 2014. Valerie at one time was a housekeeper for Faith Evangelical Free Church in Waterville, which the Tiemans attended.

Meanwhile, Billi-Jo Goodwin, of Norridgewock, first became friends with Luc Tieman around Aug. 21, initially through Facebook, and “he immediately said that he wanted to be with her romantically,” according to the state police affidavit.

At a pool party on Aug. 24, he told Goodwin that his marriage was in trouble and about a week later he began staying at her home every night, saying his wife “had met somebody else,” the affidavit states. The murder is alleged to have happened the next day — Aug. 25.

Goodwin told the Morning Sentinel that in retrospect she fell for Tieman’s charms.

“This has just been horrific, like the most horrible thing in the world. I can’t get my brain around it. I thought I did my homework. I always told everybody I had a gut feeling something wasn’t right. I don’t mean murder. Things were too perfect, too nice, so nice to me and so nice to the kids,” she said.


Also, on Aug. 25, a friend told Valerie Tieman that her husband was having an affair. The friend, Torie York of Waterville, said in an interview with the Morning Sentinel that Luc Tieman had also been hitting on her while suggesting that he and his wife were thinking of divorcing.

After York told Valerie about the affair, Luc Tieman angrily texted York back: “Why did you do this to me? I just calmed her down.”


Valerie’s parents — Allen and Sarajean Harmon, of Taylors, South Carolina — heard from Luc Tieman on Sept. 8 that Valerie “had left him and that he had not seen her for some time,” according to the affidavit.

They contacted Fairfield police, and officers the next day went to 628 Norridgewock Road in Fairfield; Laurelle Tiemen said her son and his wife were no longer living there. The Harmons then reported their daughter missing.

Maine State Police got involved in the reported missing person case on Sept. 13. A day earlier, Luc Tieman had called police dispatchers at 5:10 p.m. to report that he had last seen his wife Aug. 30, saying they went to Wal-Mart in Skowhegan. He told police he went into the store and Valerie stayed behind in his red Chevy Silverado truck, but she was gone when he returned from the store.


State police initially asked the public for help in finding Valerie Tieman, releasing a photo of the couple in front of the red truck.

The morning of Sept. 13, trooper Hugh Landry went to Wal-Mart to review its surveillance footage and happened to see Tiemen in his truck — Tieman had a suspended driver’s license and a warrant for his arrest as a result — and Tieman told Landry “he had traveled to Wal-Mart because it was the last place he saw Valerie.”

Landry spoke to Tieman at the state police barracks soon after, and Tieman told the trooper that he and his mother “agreed it would be better not to tell Valerie’s parents that she was missing.” Luc Tieman also told the trooper that he and Valerie had been staying at a friend’s house in Norridgewock — the friend was later identified as Goodwin.

Later that day, when Landry told Tieman he wanted to speak with the friend in Norridgewock they had been staying with, Tieman “offered a different story” that “Valerie had never stayed in the home in Norridgewock and that it was the home of a ‘rebound girl.'”

Landry and Maine State Police Detective Chris Crawford, the primary investigator in the case, met with Tieman again. During their talk, Goodwin called and Tieman said she was upset, didn’t want to get involved, and he said “I love you” before saying goodbye to her.

When Landry spoke with Goodwin, she recounted her first in-person meeting with Luc Tieman at a pool party for her niece in Waterville, where Tieman “commented that he had stayed too late and that his wife was going to be mad at him.”



Meanwhile, police reviewed Wal-Mart surveillance video showing the area of the parking lot where Tieman had said he parked his truck.

It could not be seen at all between the dates of Aug. 21 and 31, from 5 to 11:30 p.m.

Police also analyzed cellphone records and determined the last time Valerie had called her husband was Aug. 24, for about 13 minutes.

On Tuesday, Maine State Police detectives and the Maine Warden Service executed a search warrant at 628 Norridgewock Road in Fairfield, recovering Valerie Tieman’s body from the woods a few hundred yards from where the couple had lived with Luc’s parents, Laurelle and Alan Tieman. That day, Crawford and Landry asked Tieman about the body’s discovery and he “initially denied any knowledge of the body, but changed his statement and said the body was his wife Valerie.”

“Luc said Valerie had a drug addiction and he witnessed her overdose and die,” the affidavit states. “Luc said he brought home heroin for Valerie and loaded a needle for her. 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.”


Tieman stayed in a Waterville motel that night, and police arrested Tieman the following morning, Wednesday, after an autopsy showed Valerie Tieman had died from two gunshot wounds to the head.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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