A woman who stabbed her ex-husband to death in 2017 should have been allowed to withdraw her guilty plea to murder, her attorney argued Tuesday in front of the state’s top court.

Kandee Collind, now 50, is serving 32 years in prison for fatally stabbing 42-year-old Scott Weyland in front of their two young children. She pleaded guilty to murder in 2018 and then tried to withdraw that plea. A judge held two hearings on that motion but ultimately rejected it. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments in her appeal Tuesday.

Scott Weyland

One factor in the judge’s decision was the impact on the children, who could have been required to testify at a trial.

“It is difficult to know in the abstract whether the testimony of the minor children would be affected by this reversal of course coupled with the further, inevitable delay of trial,” Superior Court Justice Wayne Douglas wrote. “The state has expressed a concern that memories could fade or be susceptible to other influences if this matter were now to proceed to trial. Much more concerning, however, is the real potential for adverse emotional and psychological impacts that a trial could have on these minor children.”

Defense attorney Verne Paradie, who is representing Collind in her appeal, said the circumstances of the case had not changed from before the guilty plea to after. Trauma to the children was always a concern, he argued, and that standard should not be a precedent.

“That problem for witnesses exists all the time,” he said. “No one would ever be able to withdraw their plea.”

Assistant Attorney General Don Macomber said the children had already been told they would not have to testify at a trial because their mother pleaded guilty. To allow her to withdraw that plea would raise that possibility again and perhaps retraumatize them, he said.

“When someone decides to plead, your honor, that should mean something,” Macomber said. “You shouldn’t be allowing withdrawal of guilty pleas willy nilly.”

The court does not have a deadline to rule on the appeal. Weyland is incarcerated at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.

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