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Jury hears Rockland man deny killing Katrina Windred

Stephen Betts | BDN
Stephen Betts | BDN
Arnold Diana, seated in wheelchair, and a Knox County Jail corrections officer await the arrival of the jury in Diana's murder trial in Rockland on Tuesday, July 17, 2012.
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Jurors in the murder trial of Arnold Diana on Wednesday heard taped interviews of the Rockland man denying involvement in the disappearance of Katrina Windred before her body was found.

Jurors also heard Windred’s voice from telephone messages left by her with Diana.

The playing of tapes dominated most of Wednesday’s proceedings in Knox County Superior Court. Diana, 37, is charged with murder in connection with the Nov. 20, 2010, death of Windred.

The longest taped interview was by Michael Mitchell, then a Maine State Police detective. Mitchell, who is now a special agent with the U.S. Department of Defense, interviewed Diana during the search for Windred, who last was seen dropping off groceries to him on Nov. 20, three days before her body was found on the side of Thompson Meadow Road.

Toward the end of the tape, Mitchell pressed Diana to tell the truth.

“I talk to people like you every day. You need to be straight with me. I think you made a mistake, something got out of control. I think something bad happened,” Mitchell said.

“I didn’t do nothing,” Diana said.

He said he was being straight with the detective.

The detective continued to urge Diana to tell what had happened and pointed out that Windred had just starting seeing a new boyfriend.

Diana then played for the detective on the tape several phone messages left by Windred on his phone. Jurors were provided written transcripts of the taped interview to follow along.

On the tape recording, the detective pointed out what he said were inconsistencies in Diana’s earlier statements. For instance, Diana had told police that Windred was only in his apartment for about nine minutes before she took a nap and he went and got her son out of her car, parked in the back parking lot of the Thorndike apartments on Main Street in Rockland. Her son, however, now 12 years old, said it was a long time, long enough for him to read three comic books.

On at least a dozen occasions, Diana said “nothing happened up here” when asked by the detective what had happened.

Diana told police that Windred had been asleep when he brought the boy up to the apartment and that she left during the night to visit friends after the boy had fallen asleep. He said that when Windred did not return the next day, he found a ride for her son to the boy’s father’s home.

On the tape recording, Mitchell can be heard saying how it did not make sense that the mother would have taken a nap while her son was in the car and then also left him in the middle of the night.

Diana responded on the recording, “But she did.”

During the morning, Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Don Murray and Detective Dwight Burtis testified about their initial meetings with Diana shortly after the department received a missing person’s report on Windred. Some of their meetings with Diana also were taped and played back for the jury.

Jurors also were shown a photograph of a scratch on Diana’s face and shown a pillow that had a blood stain on it.

A confession made by Diana on Nov. 27 was thrown out in March by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm, who is presiding over the murder trial. The defense had argued that Diana was coerced into the confession.

On Monday, during opening arguments, defense attorney Christopher MacLean said that there is an alternate suspect, one of Diana’s former girlfriends.

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