ROCKLAND, Maine — The 37-year-old Rockland man convicted of strangling an ex-girlfriend two years ago has asked the state’s high court to overturn his conviction.
Arnold Diana also has asked the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to allow him to appeal the 45-year sentence imposed Oct. 12 by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm in Knox County Superior Court.
The appeals were filed earlier this month.
Diana was convicted in July by a Knox County jury of murder in the Nov. 20, 2010, death of Katrina Windred at his apartment at the Thorndike complex on Main Street in Rockland. The murder occurred as the 47-year-old Friendship woman’s 10-year-old son was waiting outside in her car.
The appeals were filed by attorney Christopher MacLean of Camden who represented Diana before and during the trial. MacLean said, however, that attorney Jeremy Pratt of Camden will be handling the appeals.
The high court hears appeals of judgments but must give its approval of whether it will consider an appeal of sentences. No hearings have been scheduled yet on the motions.
The motion on the 45-year sentence argues that the judge erred by basing his decision on a 2010 case that added more years because children were exposed to violence in the commission of the crime.
Diana’s attorney argues that Windred’s son was not close to the murder scene, was not at risk of physical harm, and was not exposed to the violent crime.
The defense also argues in its appeal that the judge should not have added time to the sentence because he considered the manner of death — strangulation — to be intensely personal.
“To the extent that strangulation suggests a crime of passion and without premeditation, strangulation as a means of murder should be a neutral factor in the analysis of the basic period of incarceration,” the motion states.
Diana did not testify at the trial. A confession Diana made to police was ruled inadmissible and not heard by the jury because Maine State Police investigators continued to question him after he said he wanted it to stop. MacLean had also argued that Diana had a low IQ, had severe mental and physical difficulties and experienced an abusive childhood.
Windred had stopped by Diana’s apartment to drop off some groceries prior to Thanksgiving. The prosecution said Diana killed Windred because the two had broken up and he realized she had met another man.
Diana told police that after he strangled Windred, he got the boy, telling him that his mother was taking a nap, and put him in the same bedroom where Windred’s body lay. As the boy later slept, Diana wrapped Windred in a blanket and drove to Thompson Meadow Road, where he dumped her body on the side of the road. A man walking his dog there found her body three days later. He brought the boy to the child’s father the following morning.
The defense had argued during the trial that another woman who had feelings for Diana could have committed the crime in a jealous rage. The jury deliberated for four hours before convicting Diana.