SKOWHEGAN, Maine – A judge on Friday declared a defendant's trial testimony "poppycock" before sentencing him to 55 years in prison for killing his wife and burying her body with a wedding band, flowers, potato chip bag, and a bottle of Gucci cologne called "Guilty."
The judge said he was "disgusted" by the conduct of Army veteran Luc Tieman, who was convicted last month of murder.
Tieman, of Fairfield, Maine, didn't speak during the sentencing in Superior Court. But he has contended he didn't kill his wife, whom he admitted burying behind his parents' home.
Tieman originally told investigators 34-year-old Valerie Tieman disappeared at a Walmart, but he later changed his story to say she died from a heroin overdose. An autopsy showed she had ingested painkillers but died from two gunshots.
A prosecutor told the judge that Valerie Tieman was "gunned down" in August 2016 by the man who vowed to love and protect her.
The victim's family, from South Carolina, urged the judge to impose a life sentence instead of the 55-year sentence sought by prosecutors. The defense sought a 35-year sentence.
"A big part of me is gone," the victim's mother, Sarajean Harmon of Taylors, South Carolina, said in a statement read aloud at the hearing. She wrote that she was "overwhelmed by what an evil-hearted man Luc is."
Tieman wept as his mother and father asked the judge for mercy.
His mother, Laurelle Tieman, said her son was changed when he returned from three combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. She said she wasn't looking to use his post-traumatic stress disorder as an excuse but added, "I am asking for understanding."
The prosecutor contended Tieman killed his wife to be with another woman he'd met on Facebook. Luc Tieman moved in with that woman and never reported his wife missing, prosecutors said.
Valerie Tieman's parents, both of whom were in court Friday along with her brother, eventually contacted police on Sept. 9, 2016.
Luc Tieman offered no explanation why the grave contained the unusual items, some of which had been on his bedside table in his parents' home.
Valerie Tieman was wrapped in a blanket and buried in a shallow grave along with flowers, a wedding band, a bag of potato chips, cologne and a note.