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Murder victim’s belongings found hidden in cushion

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. The jury and other court participants visited the rear parking lot and the front of the Thorndike apartment building on Main Street on Tuesday morning, July 17, 2012.
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The cellphone, wallet and car key of a 47-year-old Friendship woman killed 18 months ago were found hidden in a cushion stuffed in a trash can at the apartment of the man later charged with her death, according to a state police forensic specialist.

The testimony concluded the fifth day of the murder trial of 37-year-old Arnold Diana of Rockland. The trial in Knox County Superior Court will resume Monday with Justice Jeffrey Hjelm telling jurors Friday that he expected it would continue through next Thursday.

Maine State Police forensic specialist Robert Burns testified Friday that he was going through Diana’s apartment on Nov. 24 and found several blood stains. Stains were found on a carpet in the bedroom, the wall of the bedroom, the living room floor, a coat hanging in the closet, a T-shirt in a pile of clothes in the bedroom, a pillowcase and a sponge in the kitchen sink.

Burns said he also found a cushion for a foot stool stuffed in the kitchen trash can. The cushion had holes in it and inside it he found the wallet, eyeglasses, car key, cellphone and a bank card belonging to murder victim Katrina Windred.

Windred’s body had been found — wrapped in a quilt and tied with pieces of a towel — along Thompson Meadow Road in Rockland on Nov. 23 — three days after police believe she was killed in Diana’s apartment. The state’s chief medical examiner ruled that Windred died of strangulation and had a broken bone in her neck and numerous cuts, scrapes and bruises on much of her body.

Friday morning, defense attorney Christopher MacLean questioned Maine State Police Sgt. Jeffrey Love about evidence that was gathered around the Thorndike building where Diana lived in November 2010.

Love testified that a search of Windred’s Volkswagen Jetta was done on Nov. 24 but that no evidence was found in it. MacLean pointed out that the tires of the Jetta had mud on them just as did a pickup truck belonging to Diana’s friend Minniann Wigmore. Police have previously indicated that Diana used the truck to transport the body. The state police investigator acknowledged Friday that a pillow was found in the Jetta with a red/brownish stain but he said it was not tested nor were fingerprints taken from the vehicle.

“Was it not tested because it did not fit the state police’s theory of the case?” MacLean asked.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea objected and Hjelm sustained her objection to the question.

MacLean also questioned the handling of evidence found in a Dumpster behind the Thorndike building. A bag was found with a purple towel and a brown coat. The bag had been left near the Dumpster while investigators examined other clothing items found near the Rockland Wastewater Treatment Plant. Those other items were later determined not to be connected to the then missing person case involving Windred.

Burns testified that the towel found in the bag was the same one from which strips had been cut off and used to tie the quilt in which Windred’s body had been wrapped.

Burns acknowledged under cross examination by MacLean that he had not tested the pillow found in Windred’s vehicle.

An employee of Verizon Wireless, Alexis Eon, testified that she found no telephone calls to Windred’s cellphone early Saturday evening, Nov. 20.
Diana had told state police, in a tape-recorded interview played earlier in the week to jurors, that Windred had stopped by his apartment but decided to take a nap and go out that evening after receiving a call while at his apartment.

The telephone worker said Diana had telephoned Windred 15 times to both her cellphone and landline at her Friendship home earlier on Nov. 20.

The records also showed that Diana called Windred’s cellphone three times during the night.

Police investigators allege that Diana strangled Windred in his apartment as her 11-year-old son waited in the car in the back parking lot. A receipt shows that Windred had stopped by Thomaston Grocery shortly after 5 p.m. on Nov. 20 and she then went to Diana’s apartment to drop off some groceries for him before she was to return home to have pizza with her son, her new boyfriend and his daughter.

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