SKOWHEGAN, Maine — A jury needed only 40 minutes to reach a guilty verdict Monday after an Army veteran accused of killing his wife and burying her body with flowers, a bag of potato chips and a bottle of Gucci cologne called “Guilty” took the unusual step of delivering his own closing argument.
Luc Tieman, 34, of Fairfield, faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison after jurors in Somerset County Superior Court convicted him of murder.
In closing arguments, Tieman insisted that he didn’t kill his “beautiful wife” and that there were “alternative explanations” to much of the state’s evidence against him.
Tieman originally told investigators his wife disappeared at a Walmart but changed his story to say she died from a heroin overdose. An autopsy showed she’d ingested painkillers but died from two gunshots.
Tieman acknowledged changing his story about the death of Valerie Tieman, 34, whose remains were found in a shallow grave behind his parents’ home.
The grave also contained flowers, a wedding band, a bag of potato chips and a note. Underneath her body, which was wrapped in a blanket, police found the bottle of cologne.
Tieman offered no explanation why the grave contained some items that had been on his bedside table in his parents’ home.
The prosecutor said he killed Valerie Tieman to be with another woman he’d met just days earlier on Facebook. Luc Tieman moved in with that woman and never reported his wife missing, prosecutors said.
Valerie Tieman’s parents, who live in South Carolina, eventually contacted police on Sept. 9, 2016, after their son-in-law called to say his wife left him. They were concerned because they hadn’t heard from their daughter.
Investigators believe Valerie Tieman was killed on Aug. 25, 2016, because that is the last time she used her cellphone.