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The Massachusetts man accused of killing his domestic partner on a York beach Friday by striking her on the head with a rock told police that he did not remember the slaying, according to a court affidavit.
Jeffrey Buchannan , 33, is charged with intentional or knowing murder in the death of Rhonda Pattelena, 35. The Bedford, Massachusetts, man is set to make his first appearance before a judge Tuesday afternoon at the York County Courthouse in Alfred.
Buchannan is being held without bail at the York County Jail.
Buchannan allegedly told police that while on the beach with Pattelena — also of Bedford — he saw a man running toward him while she made hand gestures behind his back. Buchannan said that he felt threatened and “blacked out,” the affidavit said. The next thing he allegedly remembers was seeing Pattelena on the ground and walking away from her.
The investigation that led to Buchannan’s arrest began shortly before 4 p.m. Friday, when police received several calls about an alleged assault on Short Sands Beach. Callers reported that they had seen a Black man wearing a black hoodie and red sneakers striking a woman and dragging her body behind some rocks, the affidavit said.
Pattelena was found dead by members of the York Beach Fire Department, the court document said. They reported that she had suffered “significant trauma to the face and head” and blood was found on the sand under her head.
A rock near her body that may have been used as the murder weapon was collected as evidence, the affidavit said.
Buchannan was located not far from the beach and taken into custody shortly after 4 p.m. Friday.
An autopsy performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner showed that Pattelena died of blunt force trauma to the head, according to the Maine State Police.
Buchannan’s alleged attack on Pattelena was captured on surveillance video police obtained from businesses located near the beach, the affidavit said. The videos show that Buchannan first struck Pattelena while her back was turned to him and then hit her several more times.
If convicted, Buchannan faces between 25 years and life in prison.