FARMINGTON — A Jay man has been indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on a charge of intentional or knowing murder in connection with the death of his longtime girlfriend.

James Sweeney, 57, is accused of deliberately causing the death of Wendy Douglass, 51, whose body was found last month in the home they shared on Jewell Street in downtown Jay.

Sweeney, whose indictment was handed up on Thursday, is now set for a hearing on Sept. 12 that will determine whether he should be held without bail.

Walter Hanstein, Sweeney’s attorney, said in an interview he requested the hearing in order to preview some of the state’s evidence in the case.

Following Sweeney’s initial court appearance last month, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese described Douglass’ death as a domestic violence homicide. Marchese said Douglass had been contemplating leaving Sweeney and “leaving can be the most dangerous time.”

“He was losing control and he killed her,” Marchese said.


On the morning of July 11, Sweeney, who is deaf, walked into the Androscoggin County Jail and presented officers with a note stating, “I’m going to jail cause I hurt my girlfriend,” according to a police affidavit.

When officers from the Jay Police Department went to the home to perform a well-being check, they found Douglass’ body inside.

Officers interviewing Sweeney’s daughter-in-law, Michelle Libby, learned that he and Douglass had recently broken up but were still living together. Taped to the door of the room where police found Douglass’ body was another note that read, “Wendy I love you you ruin my love I already know you cheat on me you lie lie lie a lot ‘Ted.'”

Sweeney also went by the name Ted, according to Douglass’ daughter, Jessica.

A search of the Jewell Street residence turned up a black wooden baseball bat stained with blood. An autopsy later showed Douglass died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Marchese urged victims of domestic violence to seek help.


“It’s important for folks to remember there are domestic violence resources all over the state of Maine,” she said.

Kate McCormick — 861-9218

Twitter: @KateRMcCormick

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