WISCASSET, Maine — The Waldoboro woman accused of killing her boyfriend in July told investigators she shot him because she feared he was leaving her for another woman, according to a police affidavit filed in Lincoln County Superior Court.

Arline Lawless, who is also known as Arline Seavey, 25, is charged with murder and is scheduled to appear Friday in Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset. Though police have referred to the woman as Arline Seavey, she is identified as Arline Lawless in court documents.

Lawless was arrested Wednesday as she was being discharged from Spring Harbor treatment center in Westbrook. According to an affidavit written by Maine State Police Detective Abbe A. Chabot, Lawless shot her boyfriend, Norman Benner, 34, of Waldoboro, in the back of the head while he was sleeping. Approximately five minutes later, she shot herself in the face but the wound was not fatal.

Benner and Lawless were discovered by Benner’s sister on the morning of Monday, July 23, at 2177 Friendship Road in Waldoboro, where the couple had been staying since May with the homeowner, 23-year-old Jeremy McPhee.

It is unclear exactly when the shooting took place, though police have said it was sometime over that weekend.

Waldoboro Police Officer Jeffrey Fuller, responding to a 911 call from Benner’s sister, found Benner dead in a downstairs bedroom and Lawless nearby, injured and incoherent. Lawless was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland. The state medical examiner’s office told police later that day that Benner died of a close-contact gunshot wound to the head.

McPhee, the homeowner, who arrived at the residence Monday as police began investigating the crime, told them he had last seen Benner and Lawless on Saturday, July 21, at the residence, and had heard what he thought was snoring coming from their bedroom at about 7:30 p.m. that day.

Benner’s mother and sister told police that Lawless had sent him a series of text messages Saturday, claiming that she was scared of McPhee “because he was acting oddly” and that Benner should return home.
Benner’s relatives said they believed Lawless contrived the story to make Benner return home, and also that Benner had stated to them that he intended to break off the relationship with Lawless.

According to the affidavit, Lawless was interviewed by Maine State Police Detective Corey Pike on July 23, at Maine Medical Center. She allegedly told Pike she shot Benner because he was going to leave her and that she had used a gun she had found in the home that belonged to McPhee.

Lawless made a similar statement to Detective Chabot during a second interview on July 24. Chabot wrote in an affidavit that Lawless called Benner’s mother on July 25 and again said she had shot Benner because he was going to leave her.

According to court documents, Lawless, who has a 7-year-old child, is a tattoo artist in the Waldoboro area who recently had an address on Park Street in Rockland. Her court-appointed attorney is Philip Cohen of Waldoboro.

Lawless also faces an assault charge in a separate case. The documents indicate she allegedly assaulted a woman in Waldoboro on May 9, and pleaded not guilty to that charge on June. 13.

Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.