BANGOR — Convicted murderer Christopher Saenz was back in the Penobscot County Courthouse Tuesday for a post-conviction review of his case.
Saenz was convicted in 2015 of beating his wife, Hilary, to death on Christmas Day in 2013.
Saenz appealed his murder conviction and lost in October 2016.
The Maine Supreme Court denied his appeal stating, “Ultimately, the evidence of his unrelenting and horrific abuse of Hilary over hours and days, including multiple blows to her head resulting in her death, along with his delay in seeking medical assistance, fully support the court’s findings that Saenz killed his wife and that he acted with a depraved indifference to the value of human life in doing so.”
On Tuesday, Superior Court Justice Ann Murray heard testimony, including that of Saenz’s former defense attorney Jeffrey Toothaker.
Saenz alleges that he was unaware a plea deal was a possibility.
Toothaker recalled discussions with Saenz about a plea before the murder trial began. The defense attorney said Saenz had asked about pleading guilty to manslaughter in exchange for a 30-year sentence.
“The response came back ‘no,’” Toothaker said. The state said “we might go to the family with murder and 30” years.
“We said ‘Are you interested in that?’ and he said, ‘I didn’t kill my wife.’”
“We had the best experts in the country for him and we lost,” Toothaker said.
Bangor attorney Jeffrey Silverstein is representing Saenz in his post-conviction review.
Maine Assistant Attorney General Lara M. Nomani is representing the state.