Defense witnesses testify in Rockland murder trial

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.
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.
Posted July 24, 2012, at 7:51 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The defense began offering evidence Tuesday afternoon in the trial of Arnold Diana, who is charged with murder in the the November 2010 death of Katrina Windred.

Civil engineer William Gartley was one of the first witnesses for the defense on day seven of the trial in Knox County Superior Court. He testified that he reviewed a police report about the location of the final call made on Windred’s cellphone and found that it was in error.

Verizon Wireless maintained that the final call on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 20, came from 0.37 miles northeast of the communications tower located adjacent to the Rockland Fire Station. The police report had pinpointed that location as the Thorndike apartments on Main Street, where the 37-year-old Diana lived.

But Gartley said his review shows that the Thorndike building would have been outside that 0.37 mile radius by a few hundred feet.

The first defense witness was Stephen Payor, who also lives at the Thorndike and had lived there in November 2010. Payor lived three doors down from Diana’s apartment.

Payor said he was home the evening that Windred, 47, disappeared and he heard no commotion of any type. He said he can hear when there is noise on the third floor. He said the evening police were searching Diana’s apartment, with the door open, he could hear there was a conversation going on from his apartment.

Under cross-examination by Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese, Payor acknowledged that he was on the computer during the evening of Nov. 20 and was likely to be able to hear from that part of his apartment.

Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews was called to the stand by the defense. Under questioning from defense attorney Christopher MacLean, he said he had spoken to a Minniann Wigmore on Vinalhaven, seeking permission to search her pickup truck, which was parked in back of the Thorndike. MacLean said in his opening statements that Wigmore was an alternate suspect in the death of Windred, who was a resident of Friendship.

Andrews called the woman at about 1:30 a.m on Nov. 22. He said she was upset about being called and was confrontational and may have uttered some obscenities and hung up on him. He said, however, that she consented to the search.

Investigators maintain that Diana used Wigmore’s truck to drive Windred’s body from the Thorndike to Thompson Meadow Road on the night of Nov. 20.

Andrews also testified that in an interview with Windred’s 11-year-old son, the boy said he heard his mother snoring during the evening and as he went to sleep that night. The boy testified last week that he had not seen his mother because she was covered with a blanket and that Diana said she had taken a nap because she planned to go out that evening.

The defense will continue presenting its case Wednesday. Closing arguments are expected to be made Thursday.

The seven-women, seven-men jury — which includes two alternates — will not hear a confession made by Diana to state police on the evening of Nov. 27. Justice Jeffrey Hjelm ruled the incriminating statements inadmissible because Diana had said he did not want to talk anymore but the questioning persisted.

The jurors are reminded each day by Hjelm not to read anything about the trial or discuss the matter.

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