Dilley takes the stand in double-murder trial


PORTLAND (AP) – Jon Dilley took the stand in his own defense Thursday in his double-murder trial, saying he felt numb when he shot his mother and estranged wife. The Pittston man is expected to return to the stand Friday in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Dilley, along with two other witnesses, is trying to build a case that he was in a “depersonalized” state in which his mental and physical faculties were not in sync at the time of the shootings.

Dilley is accused of killing his estranged wife, “Chellie” Calloway, and his mother, Sarah Murray, in August 2004 at Murray’s summer home in Boothbay Harbor. Dilley’s two children witnessed the shootings.

In testimony Thursday, Dilley said he had endured years of interference by his mother in his marriage and family, and said he ultimately felt set up by his mother and wife. He said he got a gun out of his vehicle, and that he felt numb as he started shooting.

In the previous day’s testimony, witnesses said that Dilley’s mother had written him out of her will and made Calloway an heir while maintaining a relationship with his estranged wife. Murray gave Calloway a car and use of her summer home in Boothbay Harbor. The two were involved in real estate ventures together, witnesses said.

I think there was friction,” between the mother and son, said Stephen Moore, Dilley’s longtime friend. “From my perspective, it seems like Jon’s mother had a fairly invasive relationship in Jon’s marriage.”

Dilley’s lawyer, Steven Peterson, said his client was in a state of “depersonalization” or “disassociation” when he shot the two women.

“The defendant’s not disputing any of the facts of the case as they relate to what happened here. The case is really turning on what his state of mind was at the time, and I think the jury has to hear from him, exactly what was going through his mind when this happened,” said Peterson.

On Wednesday, the state rested its case after state police detectives testified about technical aspects of the investigation. If found guilty, Dilley faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.