Mass. man charged in fatal Maine beach attack held without bail

ALFRED, Maine (AP) — A Massachusetts man charged with fatally beating his domestic partner on a Maine beach was ordered held without bail Tuesday.

Jeffrey Buchannan, 33, of Bedford, Massachusetts, is charged in the killing of Rhonda Pattelena, 35, at Short Sands Beach in York, officials said. He appeared before a judge in York County on Tuesday.

The judge also ordered a mental health evaluation for Buchannan, who did not enter a plea during the videoconference appearance. A follow-up conference was scheduled for May 12.

Buchannan was represented by attorney Jon Gale, of Portland, during the brief court appearance Tuesday. Gale requested the mental health evaluation for Buchannan. Gale did not return a call seeking comment after the appearance.

The attack that happened behind a rock on the beach prompted multiple 911 calls to York police on Friday.

An affidavit filed on Monday stated that witnesses reported seeing Buchannan leave the scene on foot before being apprehended, the Portsmouth Herald reported. Some of the assault was captured on a surveillance video from nearby businesses, the affidavit stated.

The video appears to show Buchannan hit Pattelena while her back is turned to him. The affidavit stated that police collected evidence from the scene including the rock that appeared to be the weapon in the assault.

Pattelena was already dead when police arrived; an autopsy concluded she died from head injuries.

State police said the two were domestic partners and had one child together. The child wasn’t present during the attack.

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