ROCKLAND, Maine — Arnold Diana strangled Katrina Windred to death in his apartment as the woman’s 11-year-old son sat reading comic books in her car, according to an affidavit filed Monday afternoon by a Maine State Police detective.
Then later that Saturday, Nov. 20, as the boy lay asleep on the floor, not far from the bed where he had been told his mother lay sleeping, Diana wrapped his former girlfriend’s body in a blanket and dragged it down the back stairs.
He placed the body in the front seat of a borrowed truck and later dumped it on the side of Thompson Meadow Road where it was found three days later by a man walking his dog.
When the boy awoke in Diana’s apartment at about 3 a.m. to find his mother gone, Diana told him she had left to visit friends, according to the affidavit. Later that morning, Diana drove the boy to his father’s home and dropped him off, explaining that Windred had not returned to pick her son up.
After their investigation, however, police arrested the 35-year-old Diana on Saturday, Nov. 27, charging him with intentional or knowing murder in the death of the 47-year-old Friendship woman.
Diana remains held without bail in Knox County Jail after making his first appearance Monday afternoon in Knox County Superior Court. Judge Joseph Field set Diana’s bail hearing for Dec. 7 and approved a motion to have him psychologically evaluated. According to other court documents, Diana has a history of domestic violence and may be mentally ill.
A lawyer will be appointed to represent him in the near future, the judge said.
According to the affidavit, Windred had left her current boyfriend, John Savage of Augusta, at her home in Friendship where he was cooking dinner and had gone to pick up her son and drop off groceries at Diana’s apart-ment to help him out. She told Savage she would return in an hour.
During his initial interview with police, Diana told them Windred had taken a nap in his bed but left at about 11 p.m. to visit friends.
During his interview with police the day he was arrested, however, Diana said he and Windred had gotten into an argument over Thanksgiving plans when she visited him on Nov. 20 at his apartment at 385 Main St.
Diana said that when he told Windred he would be spending Thanksgiving with a friend, she got upset and pushed him.
He said he then became angry, too, and grabbed her by the neck before the two of them fell to the floor with him on top. Windred was unconscious but still breathing when he placed her face down on a pillow on his bed, Diana told police.
He said he then went out to the parking lot and told Windred’s son that his mother was taking a nap and invited him inside. Diana said they watched half of a movie before he took the child to a bank with Windred’s debit card and withdrew $60 from an ATM. When the boy and Diana got back, he asked the boy to go to bed early.
“[The boy] said that he returned home with Arnold and at some point when using the bathroom, [the child] was able to glimpse his mother’s ‘form’ as she laid on the bed in the bedroom,” the affidavit states. “[The boy] described the scene as his mother lying on her back with the covers pulled up over her head to the top of the bed.”
The boy told police this was an odd position for Windred and that she didn’t sleep on her back because of health problems.
Diana told the boy to go to sleep on the floor of the bedroom. “[The boy] reported that he slept on the floor in the same bedroom as his mother with Arnold lying on the floor between them,” the police report states.
It was while the boy slept that Diana brought the body down to the truck before going back up to the apartment to take a breather. Witnesses saw Diana drenched in sweat and huffing around this time — about 1 a.m. — according to the police report.
State Police Detective Dean Jackson wrote in the affidavit that police also recovered a bloodstained pillow and Windred’s cell phone and wallet from Diana’s trash. The DNA on the pillow was a match to Windred’s, according to the state medical examiner’s office, which also determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation due to strangula-tion.
Police began investigating the case when Windred was reported missing on Sunday, Nov. 21. Windred’s boyfriend, Savage, told police Diana had called Windred “at least seven times during the day Saturday because he was upset over Windred not returning his property.” The police did not mention what the property was.
When Detective Dwight Burtis of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Diana that Sunday, Diana told him Windred had been to his apartment but had left at about 11 p.m. to visit friends.
While at the apartment, Burtis spotted a bloodstained pillow. Diana told Burtis it was Windred’s period that had stained the cushion. “Mr. Diana was visibly nervous at this time.”
When walking with Burtis outside of the apartment toward Windred’s car, which was left behind the Main Street apartment building, Diana explained that he had dated Windred about three months ago, and that although they broke up, they were still friends. Windred helped drive him to medical appointments and helped him buy food, Di-ana told police.
Days later, on Nov. 27, police asked Diana for another interview, during which Diana told them about grabbing her neck and disposing of the body.
Windred’s friend Laurie Batz attended Diana’s initial court appearance Monday. She said she sat in the court-room praying for compassion. She said she believes Windred’s death was an accident.
“I just wanted to come from a place of forgiveness,” Batz said Monday outside the courthouse, “and just sort of be OK. I think he has had a hard life. I think there is a lot to the story we don’t know. I hope he didn’t do it mali-ciously.”
Batz told a group of reporters Monday that she forgives Diana.
“It’s definitely a way of coping [coming] here,” she said.
Other court documents obtained Monday indicated that Diana has a violent background dating back to 2004 and possible mental illness.
In October 2008, Diana’s then-girlfriend requested a protection from abuse order against him. Because she may be considered a victim, the Bangor Daily News has chosen not to identify her
“Arnold Diana and I met in April 2008 and became boyfriend and girlfriend at that time,” she wrote in a document filed in court. “I learned he has a long history of mental illness and has been diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenia and major depression.”
After Diana threatened in June 2008 to kill himself with a knife in front of her and her 3-year-old child, the woman worked to get Diana out of her home, “but he will not leave,” she wrote. She also wrote that she was growing more afraid of him.
The woman filed for the protection order in October 2008 but 24 days later wrote in a court document that she was no longer afraid of him and withdrew her request.
Then in January 2009, police were called about a fight between Diana and the same woman. The incident led to Diana being convicted of domestic violence assault.
Diana was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with all of the time suspended, and given two years of probation. Nine days after assaulting his then-girlfriend, Diana broke his probation by showing up at the woman’s home. Police found him in the Rockland home and brought him to jail. A judge sentenced him to spend 42 days in jail for violating his probation.
In July 2009, another protection order was requested against Diana, this time by a family member who said her 5-year-old daughter had been abused by Diana, who is the girl’s uncle, according to court documents. The girl was interviewed by a child abuse counselor. The girl told social workers that her Uncle Diana had touched her genitals under her clothing. The protection from abuse order was granted.
Diana also was convicted of misdemeanor assault in 2004. He was fined $200 for the conviction, according to a criminal record from the Maine Bureau of Identification.