Lawless makes first court appearance in murder charge
Waldoboro — The Waldoboro woman charged with murdering her boyfriend made her first court appearance Aug. 17 at Lincoln County Superior Court.
Arline Seavey, who prefers to use the last name Lawless, was represented by attorney Philip Cohen, who is her court-appointed lawyer.
Lawless was arrested Aug. 15 and charged with shooting 34-year-old Norman Benner in late July.
The police affidavit said she shot her boyfriend because she feared he was going to leave her for another woman.
Justice Jeffrey Hjelm asked Lawless if she understood the charges and her rights as a defendant. She replied “Yes” to both, and those were the only comments she made during the five-minute proceeding.
The defendant did not enter a plea in court. A Harnish hearing will be held to determine whether bail will be set and other conditions. A status conference will be held after the next Lincoln County grand jury issues indictments. The prosecutor at the hearing was Assistant Attorney General Deb Cashman.
In the courtroom Friday afternoon were several family members of the victim that wore laminated pictures of Benner on their shirts.
Maine State Police Detective Abbe Chabot prepared the affidavit to charge Lawless with murder.
“On July 24, 2012, I interviewed Arline Lawless at Maine Medical Center in Portland,” Chabot wrote in the affidavit filed at Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset. “Arline Lawless advised me she shot Norman Benner one time while he was asleep, and then shot herself one time approximately five minutes later. Arline Lawless advised me she shot Norman Benner because she felt he was going to leave her for another woman.”
The affidavit said Lawless sent Benner text messages on the weekend of the shooting to get Benner to come to the house they were living at on Friendship Road in Waldoboro. The affidavit also said Benner had told his mother and sister he planned to break off the relationship with Lawless and then return to his family’s residence to sleep.
After not hearing from Benner, his mother and sister went to the Friendship Road house July 23 and found Benner deceased in his bed.
When Waldoboro police arrived, Lawless was “incoherent and injured” next to Benner, the affidavit said.
The gun that was used, a .22 caliber revolver, reportedly belonged to Jeremy McPhee, the owner of the Friendship Road house. Benner died of “an apparent close contact gunshot wound to the back of the head,” the affidavit said.
Lawless was arrested Aug. 15 as she was being discharged from the Spring Harbor treatment center in Westbrook.
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