SKOWHEGAN — Drugs were found in Valerie Tieman’s body during an autopsy performed Sept. 21, 2016, but the drugs did not kill her.

Two gunshot wounds to the head and neck were the cause of death.

Valerie Tieman

That was the testimony of former state Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Clair Bryce on Wednesday, the third day of the trial of Luc Tieman, 34, who is charged with murder in the death of his wife, Valerie.

There was no evidence of heroin found in Valerie’s body, Bryce told the jury of eight men and six women, including two alternatives.

Luc Tieman told police the day his wife’s body was found behind his parents’ home on Norridgewock Road in Fairfield that Valerie, who was 34, had died from a heroin overdose. He said he had brought her the heroin and that she died, smiling at him, after injecting the drug herself.

Bryce testified that the autopsy revealed the presence of two opioid drugs in Valerie’s body. The autopsy found the presence of Tramadol, a synthetic opioid painkiller that is prescribed to manage moderate to severe levels of pain, and Buprenorphine, a schedule III synthetic opioid medication used to treat opioid addiction.


Police and prosecutors charge that Valerie died on or about Aug. 25, 2016, and was buried by Luc Tieman in a shallow grave behind his parents’ house at 628 Norridgewock Road in Fairfield. In her grave were personal items including a bottle of Gucci perfume called Guilty and a handwritten note with the name “Luc-e,” which matched the name in other notes Valerie had saved as marriage mementos.

Bryce testified Wednesday morning that one gunshot wound entered Valerie’s head through the right scalp, passing through the brain and exiting — back to front, right to left — in the area of the forehead.

The other gunshot wound entered the woman’s neck on the back right side of the head, traveling through the lower brain and into the skull base where a bullet fragment and a copper shell casing were found. There was no exit wound.

Bryce said she couldn’t tell which bullet was fired first, but that each of the shots would have killed Valerie.

Members of the state police evidence response team testified earlier in the morning Wednesday, saying that stains taken from inside the home of Luc Tieman and then tested came back with a variety of results for the presence of blood.

Defense attorney Stephen Smith, who has been largely quiet in his cross examination of state witnesses in the murder trial, pressed detectives over “competing results” from the tests on stains. Some were positive, some were negative for the presence of blood.


Detectives also testified they found a .45-caliber handgun and ammunition on Sept. 20, 2016, inside the Tieman home that Luc Tieman had shared with his wife Valerie, whose body was found buried behind the house on Norridgewock Road in Fairfield

State police on Tuesday, under direct examination from Assistant Attorneys General Leane Zainea and Leanne Robbin, identified the gun used to shoot Valerie twice in the head and neck as having been a .45-caliber Citadel handgun.

The killing is alleged to have taken place Aug. 25 — 15 days before Valerie’s parents reported her missing and five days before Tieman claimed his wife disappeared Aug. 30 from the Walmart parking lot in Skowhegan, but he did not report her missing.

Tieman has maintained his innocence, pleading not guilty to the murder charge in November 2016 and agreeing to go on trial before a judge and jury.

Tuesday Police described interviews with Luc Tieman that started Sept. 13, 2016, and culminated in an extended exchange with State Police Detective Chris Crawford on Sept. 20, the day Valerie’s body was found and a day before Luc Tieman was arrested and charged with her murder.

A 90-minute audio recording of the Sept. 20 conversation between the two men was played for the jury Tuesday afternoon. Tieman stuck to his story of Valerie having left his truck at the Skowhegan Walmart store on Aug. 30, 2016. Police and prosecutors allege that Tieman had killed her five days earlier and buried her body behind his parents’ house.


Investigators with the Maine State Police and Maine Warden’s Service look for evidence in the death of Valerie Tieman, whose body was found in the woods behind 628 Norridgewock Road in Fairfield on Sept. 20.

Halfway through the recording Crawford tells Tieman that investigators have found a woman’s body behind his parents’ house. At that point it had not been identified, but Crawford tells him of a note investigators had uncovered and the name “Luc-e.”

“I didn’t do anything to her,” Tieman says. “I didn’t do it.”

Tieman then changes his story in the recording, saying he went to Winslow to buy heroin for Valerie.

“I watched her put the needle in her arm,” Tieman is heard saying, sounding like he is crying.

“She had a smile on her face,” he says, now clearly crying.

State prosecutors called the last of their witnesses Wednesday afternoon, including several who spoke of Valerie and Luc’s drug use and Luc Tieman’s penchant for seeking out women other than his wife — even after the date police say Valerie was killed.


Three of the woman who took the stand Wednesday afternoon were testifying under a court-approved grant of immunity for their own drug activity.

Jacqueline Spencer, of Waterville, said she knew Luc and Valerie, and that she had been her maid of honor at their wedding in June 2014. She said the Tiemans used drugs — heroin and Percocet, both narcotics with a high risk for addiction and dependence — the whole time she knew them.

“They injected — Luc would inject Valerie,” she testified.

Another woman, Theresa Blais, said she saw Luc in September 2016 and the first words out of his mouth were “I’m newly single.”

Torie York, currently in rehab in Bangor, said that she was the one who had messaged Valerie late the night of Aug. 24, 2016, telling her that Luc was cheating on her with other women.

The final state witness of the day was Billi-Jo Hawes, also known as Billi-Jo Goodwin, the woman who Tieman told police was his “rebound girl” after Valerie had left him for another man. Hawes testified that she and Luc Tieman “had sex” after a pool party in Waterville on Aug. 24, 2016, and that he moved in with her two days later. They were planning a life together, possibly marriage, until Sept. 13, 2016, the day state police detectives interviewed him about Valerie’s reported disappearance.


The prosecutor asked Hawes if Luc Tieman was in the courtroom Wednesday afternoon and she said yes — one of three men at the defendant’s table.

Luc Tieman raised his hand to identify himself, then settled back in.

The trial continues at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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