Survivor of knife attack sues alleged assailants

Posted Dec. 31, 2009, at 9:04 p.m.

WISCASSET, Maine — The woman who survived a brutal knife attack last spring in Waldoboro which left her friend dead is suing the two people charged with the crime.

Attorneys for Tracey Neild, 32, who now lives in Monroe, filed a civil lawsuit on Dec. 14 in Lincoln County Superior Court. In it, Neild states that her medical bills have totaled more than $175,000 and that she permanently lost her voice when defendants Corina Durkee and Earl “Buddy” Bieler allegedly attacked her and slashed her throat on April 19.

“It is more likely than not that in this action [Neild] will recover judgment, including interest and costs, in an amount not less than $500,000,” wrote Justice Andrew Horton in an order also filed Dec. 14.

Horton agreed to order a $500,000 lien on property that belongs to Durkee and a $500,000 order of trustee process against Bieler, who both have been charged with killing Rachel Grindal, 27, and attacking Neild in the April 19 incident at Neild’s home on Controversy Lane in Waldoboro.

The legal action effectively freezes the defendants’ assets, so that Neild can get paid if she were to win the lawsuit.

The justice granted the orders without a full hearing and without advance warning to the defendants, because Durkee’s property on Dutch Neck in Waldoboro has been in the process of foreclosure since July 30 and Neild would have lost her claim to the property if the foreclosure had gone through.

“There is an immediate danger that the Plaintiff’s interests will not be protected,” Horton wrote.

Durkee, 43, and Bieler, 25, have been incarcerated at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset since their arrests for intentional or knowing murder, aggravated attempted murder, and burglary.

In an affidavit filed with the lawsuit, Neild reveals some new information about the attack, which began when friends Neild, Grindal and Shantelle Quint interrupted a burglary at Neild’s Waldoboro home.

The affidavit states that Neild saw Durkee sitting in her car, which had been locked. When Neild pulled the slight Durkee out of her car and told her to leave, Bieler appeared. He grabbed Neild, then took Quint and threw her to the ground. Grindal was still sitting in her van.

“Earl Bieler got into the van and told Rachel Grindal to give him a ride,” stated Neild in the affidavit. “Earl Bieler then picked up Rachel Grindal’s two-pound dog and threw it into the dashboard very hard.”

Then, the affidavit states, both Bieler and Durkee jumped on her and she “fell to the ground.” Bieler got back into the van and stabbed Grindal in her torso and neck, according to the affidavit.

“Corina Durkee then cut my throat and I fell to the ground. I couldn’t breathe and blood was everywhere. Within two or three minutes, my clothes and hair were soaked with blood,” Neild stated. “I was rushed to the hospital. … The doctors told me that 80 percent of my throat had been cut and they did not think I was going to live.”

The injury is still causing her “a tremendous amount of pain,” Neild said in the affidavit.

“I get tired very easily, am anxious and I have difficulty sleeping. I am scared of people and I do not like to be in public places,” she states in the affidavit. “My mother, who I am now living with has to help me do simple tasks such as taking a shower and washing my hair.”

Neild’s affidavit indicates that she is now unable to work as a result of her injuries and has no income.

Criminal trials for Durkee and Bieler have been tentatively scheduled for May 14-17 and May 21-25, according to a Lincoln County Superior Court clerk.

Durkee had been scheduled to undergo a mental examination Thursday morning that would evaluate her competency to proceed and her mental state at the time of the crime.

“The State anticipates that the defendant may raise issues regarding her culpable mental state at the time of the alleged conduct,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea in a motion for forensic evaluation submitted earlier in the fall.

Durkee’s defense attorney earlier this fall requested $4,000 in state funding for her own mental health evaluation, stating that the court had found her indigent upon review of her finances. That request was approved by Justice Horton on Nov. 11.

acurtis@bangordailynews.net

338-3034

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