BANGOR – An Ellsworth man convicted of beating his wife to death on Christmas Day 2013 while their children were home was back in court on Friday.
Christopher Saenz’s wife, Hilary, 29, died of a brain hemorrhage but had around 50 bruises on her body in different stages of healing when police responded to their Central Street apartment.
Saenz is arguing that his trial attorneys — Jeffrey Toothaker and Robert Van Horn — were ineffective and therefore he didn’t receive a fair trial.
“He alleges that he was misguided by his trial attorneys in so far as they expressed great overconfidence in the measure of their case,” attorney Jeffrey Silverstein, who is representing Saenz.
Friday was the second part of Saenz’s post-conviction hearing. Assistant Attorney General Lara Nomani argued for the state.
The state offered Saenz a plea agreement before trial that he declined.
“He could have resolved the case for 30 years, but instead he went to trial and we know the judge convicted him and sentenced him to 47 years,” Silverstein said, during a break in the hearing.
Justice Ann Murray presided over the 2015 jury-waived trial. It is expected that she’ll issue a written decision in the request for a new trial in the coming months.