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Defense names alternate suspect in Rockland murder trial

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Arnold Diana looks toward the gallery during his initial appearance on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010 at Knox County Superior Court. With Diana is his temporary attorney Jeremy Pratt. Diana is charged with murder in connection with the death of Katrina Windred.
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Arnold Diana was in a love triangle and his defense attorney raised the name of one of the women as an alternate suspect in the November 2010 murder of Katrina Windred.

Defense attorney Christopher MacLean named Minniann Wigmore as an alternate suspect in the murder of Windred, a 47-year-old single mother from Friendship, during his opening statements Monday afternoon in Knox County Superior Court. Diana, 37, is on trial for the murder of Windred.

Wigmore was a girlfriend of Diana and was upset that he still had a relationship with Windred, according to MacLean. He said she hated Windred with a passion and would fly into jealous rages.

The defense attorney said blood was found in Wigmore’s truck that had been parked behind the Thorndike apartment building where Windred was killed, that the quilt used to wrap up Windred’s body was Wigmore’s quilt and that the towel that had been torn up and used to tie the quilt at both ends had Wigmore’s name written on it.

A woman’s coat found in Diana’s apartment at the Thorndike belonged to Wigmore and there were stains found on it. MacLean said he believes the evidence will show that she was in Rockland on the evening police said Windred was killed.

The defense attorney claimed police suspected Diana initially and that this influenced their analysis of evidence collected. He said police believe Diana killed Windred at about 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, but that the woman’s son told police he could hear his mother snoring in Diana’s bed at 10 p.m.

The defense attorney also noted that the last call made on Windred’s cellphone was not made from Diana’s apartment as police initially claimed but that they made a mistake and it was made from one-tenth to one-half mile away from his apartment in downtown Rockland shortly after 10:30 p.m.

In addition, MacLean said that there will be evidence from a doctor that Diana was not physically able to carry a 115-pound person down flights of stairs, saying his client has asthma and joint problems.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese, who is prosecuting the case along with Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, argued during her opening statements that the evidence was clear that Diana had committed the murder.

Marchese said Windred was last seen going into the Thorndike to drop off groceries to Diana, with whom she had a relationship that had ended. Windred left her 10- or 11-year-old son in the car and told him she would be right back. The son would say that his mother did not return and that eventually Diana came down to the car and said that the boy’s mother had taken a nap because she had received a call from someone who asked her to go out that evening, the prosecutor said.

Diana took the boy to his apartment who noticed a figure under a blanket on Diana’s bed. Diana eventually took the boy to a TD Bank ATM and withdrew $60 at about 6:30 p.m. and returned to the apartment and had Windred’s son watch a movie.

Later that evening, Diana had the boy sleep on the bedroom floor next to where the youngster believed his mother was asleep. The boy couldn’t sleep so Diana let him watch more television and when he brought the boy back to the bedroom he was told his mother was now sleeping on the floor covered by a blanket. Marchese said the boy thought that it was odd that she lying flat because she was a cancer survivor who suffered from lymphedema which necessitated her to sleep with her arms up.

A confession police obtained from Diana has been ruled inadmissible because he had asked for questioning to stop. During opening statements, MacLean noted that Diana cannot read or write and has only a little formal education.

During her opening statement on Monday, Marchese did not specify to jurors how Diana got the body out of the apartment and where it was found.

In his confession, Diana had said that during the night he used his girlfriend’s truck to transport Windred’s body to where he dumped it along the Thompson Meadow Road in Rockland.

Marchese did tell jurors that when the boy woke up in the morning, Diana told him that his mother had gone out and not returned. Diana would then find a ride for the boy and have him dropped off at the child’s father’s residence in Thomaston.

Windred was in a new relationship, Marchese told jurors, and Diana could not handle that fact.

The new boyfriend became concerned when she did not return and telephoned police that evening which led to the investigation of her disappearance.

Windred’s body was found Nov. 23 wrapped in the quilt and tied with pieces of a towel along the Thompson Meadow Road in Rockland.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm, who is presiding over the trial, told jurors Monday that they would be visiting Tuesday morning both the Thorndike and the location where Windred’s body was discovered. The jurors will be bused to the two locations.

Testimony will then be presented upon their return to the courthouse.

Marchese noted that a search of Diana’s apartment found Windred’s cellphone, keys and wallet hidden there. There also were blood drops belonging to Windred in the apartment as well as a blood smear at the bottom of the stairs on the first floor of the Thorndike that was from Windred, the prosecutor said.

MacLean, however, said if the prosecution’s version were true, there would be no blood smear at the bottom since she had been killed many hours earlier. He said the small drops of blood found in the apartment could have been there for months, noting she had been to his apartment many times.

The trial is expected to last through at least next Wednesday.

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