Portland man charged with decapitating girlfriend waives right to jury

Posted Dec. 29, 2010, at 9:54 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A 29-year-old Maine man charged with strangling and decapitating his girlfriend in his Portland apartment before setting her body on fire is waiving his right to a jury trial.

Chad Gurney has pleaded not guilty and not criminally responsible by reason of insanity in the May 25, 2009, death of 18-year-old Zoe Sarnacki.

Justice Roland Cole will preside over his murder trial, which begins Jan. 10.

According to the Portland Press Herald, a psychologist for the defense is expected to testify that Gurney was legally insane at the time of the murder, while a state expert will say he was sane and able to comprehend the consequences of his actions.

Gurney has apologized to Sarnacki’s family and settled a $1.35 million wrongful-death lawsuit.

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