Trial scheduled for Waldoboro woman accused of murdering boyfriend

Posted March 28, 2013, at 1:22 p.m.
Arline Lawless
Cumberland County Sheriff's Office
Arline Lawless
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.
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.

WISCASSET, Maine — The trial of a 25-year-old Waldoboro woman accused of shooting to death her boyfriend last year is scheduled for August.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm stated in court papers that the Arline Lawless murder trial will definitely be held in August in Lincoln County Superior Court because that was the last month of 2013 that he would preside over cases in that county.

Lawless, who also has gone by Arline Seavey, has entered a plea of not criminally responsible by reason of insanity for the July 21 shooting death of Norman Benner Jr. at a home they shared with a third person who owned the Friendship Road residence.

According to an affidavit filed by Maine State Police at the time of Lawless’ arrest, she shot Benner in the back of the head while he slept. Lawless then shot herself, according to police.

The couple was not discovered until Monday, July 23, by one of Benner’s sisters who went to the house.

The first officer on the scene — Waldoboro police Officer Jeffrey Fuller — found Benner dead in a downstairs bedroom and Lawless nearby, injured and incoherent, according to the affidavit. Lawless was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland.

The homeowner, who arrived at the residence Monday as police were investigating the crime, told police he had last seen Benner and Lawless on Saturday, July 21, at the residence, and had heard what he thought was snoring coming from their bedroom at about 7:30 p.m. that day.

Benner’s mother and sister told police that Lawless had sent Benner a series of text messages Saturday, claiming that she was scared of the homeowner because he was acting oddly and that Benner should return home, according to the affidavit. Benner’s relatives told police they believed Lawless contrived the story to make Benner return home, and also that Benner had stated to them that he intended to break off the relationship with Lawless, the affidavit stated.

According to the affidavit, Lawless told Maine State Police Detective Corey Pike on July 23 at Maine Medical Center that she had found a gun that belonged to the homeowner in the home and shot Benner because he was going to leave her.

Lawless made a similar statement to Maine State Police Detective Abbe Chabot during a second interview on July 24. Lawless called Benner’s mother on July 25 and again said she had shot Benner because he was going to leave her, according to the affidavit.

The latest filing in the case was an order signed Tuesday by Justice Hjelm that requires the defense to present the names of any experts who will testify and any reports from physical or mental examinations of Lawless to the state.

Lawless is represented by attorneys Philip Cohen and Jeremy Pratt. Assistant Attorney General Deborah Cashman is the prosecutor in the case.

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