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Waldoboro woman accused of killing boyfriend declines to enter plea

Christopher Cousins | BDN
Christopher Cousins | BDN
Arline Lawless, also known as Arline Seavey, made her first court appearance for the charge murder in the death of her boyfriend, Norman Benner, Friday, August 17, 2012, in Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset.
By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff

WISCASSET, Maine — Arline Lawless, who is accused of murdering her boyfriend, Norman Benner, last month in Waldoboro, said little Friday during her first appearance in Lincoln County Superior Court.

Shackled at the wrists and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, Lawless spent only a few minutes in Justice Jeffrey Hjelm’s courtroom and declined to enter a plea to the charge against her.

Her court-appointed attorney, Philip Cohen of Waldoboro, agreed with Assistant Attorney General Deb Cashman that there is no rush to conduct a bail hearing within the normal timeline of five business days, and Hjelm said it would take place at the next available opportunity. Hjelm also granted a request by Cashman that the state be given 90 days for evidence discovery in the case.

The 25-year-old Lawless, who also goes by the name Arline Seavey, is accused of shooting and killing Benner, 34, sometime before the morning of Monday, July 23, as he slept in his bed at 2177 Friendship Road in Waldoboro. Lawless then shot herself, according to investigators. Lawless and Benner were found July 23 by one of Benner’s relatives.

Lawless was arrested Wednesday as she was being discharged from Spring Harbor treatment center in Westbrook.

According to a police affidavit filed with the court, Lawless told two different state police investigators that she shot Benner because he planned to break off their relationship. The state medical examiner’s office said Benner died from a close-contact gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Lawless also is charged with assault in connection with a separate incident, but that charge was not addressed during Friday’s hearing.

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