Convicted Rockland murderer to be sentenced next week

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.
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.
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 03, 2012, at 5:46 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 37-year-old Rockland man convicted more than two months ago of strangling a Friendship woman and then dumping her body along a rural road in the city is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, Oct. 12.

Arnold Diana faces a minimum of 25 years in prison with the potential maximum of life behind bars for the November 2010 murder of 48-year-old Katrina Windred. Sentencing will be in Knox County Superior Court before Justice Jeffrey Hjelm.

A jury convicted Diana on July 26 in that same courtroom after more than four hours of deliberation.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese said Thursday she expects to receive a presentence report from the probation office and have a recommendation ready for the court by early next week.

Defense attorney Christopher MacLean has submitted paperwork to the court recommending a sentence of no more than 30 years in prison for Diana.

MacLean stated in his recommended sentencing memorandum that the murder was not premeditated. He also cited the extremely difficult life that Diana endured as a youth.

“In determining sentence, Arnold’s life story is of particular note,” MacLean said.

Diana was a ward of the state from the age of 4 years old when he was removed from a home where he and his older brothers were lined up each evening to be whipped by their father’s belt, according to MacLean’s memo to the court. Diana then was separated from his brothers for most of the next nine years when he was moved from foster home to foster home and suffered additional abuse.

He was adopted at age 13 by a family in New Jersey and then sent almost immediately to a Pennsylvania high school for unruly children, MacLean said. At this school, Diana’s shoulder was permanently injured from his arm being twisted behind his back.

Diana has an IQ of about 85, the defense attorney stated and has been on disability due to mental health problems. Diana also suffers from serious unspecified physical health complications and has had substance abuse problems.

The attorney said his client came to Maine in search of his family and made contact with his mother and a few of his brothers but spent much of that time homeless. The first place he called his own was the apartment at the Thorndike in Rockland, MacLean said.

The Maine attorney general’s office presented witnesses and evidence that found that Windred, who had ended a relationship with Diana, stopped by his apartment the weekend before Thanksgiving to drop off some groceries.

Diana did not testify at the trial but he confessed to Maine State Police investigators that he had an argument with Windred when she dropped off the groceries, said he “lost it” and grabbed her, they fell to the floor of his apartment, and then she lost consciousness. He said he then put her on his bed face down and covered her with a blanket.

He then went and got Windred’s 11-year-old son who had been waiting in a car outside the Thorndike. He told the boy that Windred had taken a nap. He kept the boy at the apartment that evening and even put him in the same bedroom where Windred’s body lay. When the child fell asleep, he told police that he wrapped up Windred’s body in a blanket, tied it with cut-up towels and then drove to Thompson Meadow Road and dumped her body on the side of the road.

MacLean said in his recommendation to the court that Diana tried to shield Windred’s son from the crime.

Three days later, a man walking a dog found her body. Diana was arrested a few days later after he made the statements to police.

Diana was convicted even though Hjelm ruled those statements were inadmissible because the suspect had asked for police questioning to stop.

MacLean had tried to convince jurors that Windred was killed by a woman friend of Diana who the defense attorney claimed viewed the Friendship woman as a threat to her relationship with Diana.

The state’s chief medical examiner said Windred died of strangulation, had a broken bone in her neck, and suffered bruises, cuts and scrapes all over her body.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/10/03/news/midcoast/convicted-rockland-murderer-to-be-sentenced-next-week/ printed on September 30, 2014