Stabbing survivor identifies 2 assailants

Posted April 24, 2009, at 9:05 p.m.

WISCASSET, Maine — Stabbed in the throat last Sunday night, Tracey Neild has lost the ability to speak.

But investigators said the Waldoboro woman, using pen and paper, has nonetheless identified the two people she says critically injured her and killed her friend Rachel Grindal.

Neild has told detectives that Corina Durkee stabbed her in the throat and that Earl “Buddy” Bieler killed Grindal, according to the criminal complaint filed Friday morning in Lincoln County Superior Court. The affidavit also names Shantelle Quint, 22, as the third woman who was with Grindal and Neild and who ran to a neighbor’s for help when the attack took place. According to detectives, Quint was not implicated in the crimes.

Durkee, 42, and Bieler, 24, both of Waldoboro, made their first court appearances in the case Friday morning. Each is accused of intentional or knowing murder, attempted murder and burglary.

When asked by Justice Donald Marden if they understood the crimes they were accused of, each replied with the single word, “Yes.”

“Because this was a charge which originally was a capital offense, you do not have the right to bail” at this time, Marden told Durkee and Bieler, who appeared before him separately. “You cannot be charged with these crimes formally until you’ve been charged by the grand jury.”

Durkee, a small woman with a mass of blond hair, appeared slightly agitated while she was brought before the judge, and hid her face with her shirt when she was taken away from the courthouse in an effort to shield herself from the cameras.

“I think she’s confused at this time,” said her court-appointed attorney, Philip Cohen of Waldoboro. “From the start, she’s denied any involvement in the acts.”

That is the opposite of what Maine State Police Detective Christopher Tupper said in the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Bieler began the evening of Sunday, April 19, at Goodnow’s Variety Store in Waldoboro, where a security camera showed he was apparently wearing a knife sheath and also was adjusting something in the small of his back.

At about 7 p.m., he brandished a gun at the clerk of the convenience store, said Waldoboro Police Chief Bill Labombarde.

Bieler didn’t take any money. But he’s a felon, and when the clerk called police to tell them about the handgun incident, Waldoboro and Lincoln County officers began to hunt for him, police said.

At about 9:30 that evening Grindal, Neild and Quint drove into Neild’s Controversy Lane mobile home driveway in Grindal’s minivan and Neild saw someone in her own vehicle in the driveway, according to Quint’s statement.

“She [Neild] got out of Rachel Grindal’s vehicle to confront the person,” the affidavit states. “A female confronted Tracey Neild and Tracey Neild knocked the female down.”

Then Bieler came to help the woman, and Quint got out of the minivan to help Neild, but Bieler “threw her [Quint] to the ground and kicked her,” Quint told detectives.

“Shantelle Quint stated that the next thing she remembered was blood coming from Tracey Neild’s neck,” the affidavit continues. “Shantelle told … Rachel Grindal they needed to leave.”

Next, Quint got back into the minivan, and then Durkee tried to attack her.

While Quint was kicking her attacker, she heard Grindal “say she was being stabbed,” the affidavit states.

Quint then got out of the minivan and ran off to a neighbor’s house, where she banged on the door and asked for help, Labombarde said Friday.

At 9:39 p.m. Lincoln County dispatch received several 911 calls reporting a disturbance on Controversy Lane. Officers who had been looking for Bieler since he allegedly brandished the gun at Goodnow’s Variety headed to the mobile home.

The first officer who arrived at the scene saw so much blood that he called for emergency medical services before he even got out of his cruiser, Labombarde said. County officers went to the neighbor’s house to deal with Quint.

Sgt. Jamie Wilson of the Waldoboro Police Department found Neild bleeding on the ground and Grindal, who may have still been alive at that point, in the driver’s seat of her minivan, according to the chief.

Wilson immediately started to administer first aid to the two injured women, the chief said, and could focus on police work only after emergency crews arrived. When emergency personnel arrived, they called for a LifeFlight helicopter for Neild and took her by ambulance to the town’s landing pad near the Police Department. But it was too late to save Grindal, Labombarde said.

“I got a phone call at my house that there was a stabbing,” he said. “By the time I got my boots on it was a homicide.”

Once Wilson could leave the injured women in the hands of EMS crews, he located and handcuffed Bieler and Durkee, and separated them, but not before he had seen Bieler coming out of the woods behind the mobile home with a knife sheath still on his belt, according to the affidavit.

Before he arrested Bieler, however, Wilson saw that Bieler’s belt was undone and the knife sheath was missing. A state police detective later located that sheath in Grindal’s minivan, according to the affidavit.

Police on the scene kept Bieler, Durkee and Quint in separate cruisers, according to the affidavit.

Detective Tupper arrived at the scene sometime after 10:15 p.m. and said that he found Grindal was dead in the driver’s seat of the minivan, according to the affidavit.

Bieler and Durkee both told police they had gone to Neild’s home to change a tire for her.

Bieler said he saw Shantelle Quint stab Rachel Grindal, according to the affidavit. Bieler said he chased Quint into the woods.

Durkee told her interviewing officer that she saw the three women in the minivan pull into the driveway, but then she saw “Neild exit the vehicle and fall down,” according to the affidavit. Durkee also said she saw Grindal in the minivan with her “head leaning backwards.”

Police worked the scene all night long. As the sky got lighter, they realized that the home had been burglarized, Labombarde said. Police noticed that the back door of Neild’s home had been forced open, and that her bureau had been searched, according to the affidavit. They also found a bloody, fixed-blade knife in the woods where the Waldoboro sergeant had seen Bieler earlier. Near the knife was a Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver, which had blood on it, too, the affidavit said.

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