The state’s highest court on Tuesday unanimously upheld the murder conviction of a Fairfield man who killed his wife and buried her in a shallow grave with a potato chip bag, his wedding ring, flowers, love notes and a bottle of men’s cologne called Guilty.
Luc Tieman, 35, of Fairfield is serving a 55-year sentence at the Maine State Prison in Warren after a jury last year found Tieman guilty of shooting Valerie Tieman, 34, to death in August 2016. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments in his appeal in March.
In appealing the conviction, Tieman’s attorney, Clifford Strike, argued that Facebook messages between Valerie Tieman and a Facebook friend, Torie York, about Luc Tieman’s infidelity should not have been admitted as evidence for the jury to consider.
Strike argued that it was impossible to verify the messages’ true sender and that the messages were nothing more than hearsay. Strike also argued that there was not enough evidence to convict Tieman.
But in an opinion written by Justice Joseph Jabar, the justices found no evidence that the court that tried Tieman’s case erred in admitting the Facebook messages as evidence. York testified that the messages were hers, the justices noted.
In addition, there is little chance the messages Valerie Tieman sent to her friend about her husband influenced the jury’s opinion because of “the litany of evidence presented against Tieman and the testimony of Tieman himself.”
Tieman testified at his trial over his attorney’s objections.
As for Strike’s argument that there was not sufficient evidence to convict his client, Jabar wrote, “there is ample evidence in the record … from which the jury rationally could have found every element of knowing or intentional murder proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The justices noted that Valerie Tieman was found to have died from two gunshot wounds to her head and neck, and that Luc Tieman had purchased the .45 caliber handgun that matched the gunshot wounds. There was also evidence to back up Luc Tieman’s infidelity.
In addition, the justices noted, Tieman admitted to burying his wife.
Valerie Tieman’s body was found Sept. 20, 2016, in a shallow grave on wooded property owned by Luc Tieman’s parents, according to trial testimony. Her parents reported her missing Sept. 9, 2016, after they had not heard from her in a month.
Tieman initially said she had disappeared from a Walmart parking lot, according to trial testimony. He later said she had left him for another man. Tieman also helped police search for his missing wife.
Evidence at the trial showed that Tieman had a new girlfriend and planned to move in with her.