Accused murderer has first day in court | News

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Accused murderer has first day in court

WISCASSET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Police say the woman accused of killing a man in Waldoboro last month, told two different detectives she did it.

Arline Lawless made her first court appearance today since being arrested for murder on Wednesday. This was an initial appearance, so Lawless did not enter a plea.

Lawless is accused of killing Norman Benner, Jr., in the house they apparently shared with another man in Waldoboro. A State Police affidavit filed with the court says Lawless shot Benner in the back of the head while he was sleeping, and a few minutes later shot herself in the face. Benner's mother and sister found him dead in the bed more than a day later, with Lawless lying, wounded, beside him.

According to police, Lawless told them she shot him because Benner was going to leave her for another woman. Lawless was treated for her wound at Maine Medical Center and later transferred to Spring Harbor psychiatric hospital. Defense lawyer Philip Cohen says Lawless' mental condition could become a factor in the case.

"I believe there's been a history of it there," said Cohen, "and at some point we may request an examination to determine that."
Benner's family, who said from the beginning the Lawless did the shooting, attended the brief hearing but said little afterwards. "I'm glad she's in jail," was all that Dawn Benner, the victim's mother, had to say.

Lawless was taken to Two Bridges Regional Jail, where she is expected to remain until a bail hearing, which has not been scheduled. Bail is typically not granted in murder cases. The trial could be as much as a year away.


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