July 26, 2013

Police: Detroit man's alleged killer high, seeking drugs

Jason C. Cote, of Palmyra, enters no plea at arraignment today; Ricky Cole, 47, beaten to death, medical examiner says

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN — Jason C. Cote, of Palmyra, was already high on drugs July 17 when he went to a mobile home at 24 Main St. in Detroit to get more drugs, according to court documents released today.

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Jason C. Cote, 22, of Hurd's Corner Road, makes his court appearance this afternoon in Somerset County Superior Court.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Ricky Cole

Contributed photo

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The home was rented by Ricky Cole, 47, who hours later was found dead from blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Cote, 22, entered no plea in Somerset County Superior Court today to charges he murdered Cole. Cote was ordered held without bail pending another hearing and an indictment by a grand jury, Justice John Nivison said in court.

Palmyra resident David Lafleur reported the homicide to the Somerset County Communications Center at 3:01 a.m. July 18, according to the police affidavit for Cote's arrest. Lafleur went to Cole's house to check on him after Cote told Amy Tarr, Lafleur's girlfriend, that he hit Cole with a pipe, according to the affidavit .

Detectives with the State Police Major Crimes Unit found Cole dead inside the blood-spattered mobile home.

Cole had a fractured skull, extensive blood loss and deep internal injuries, according to the autopsy. The state medical examiner's office concluded that Cole died from blunt force trauma.

On July 17, Cote snorted methadone and Xanax at Lafleur and Tarr's home on Dogtown Road in Palmyra, according to the affidavit. Lafleur and Tarr then dropped Cote off at Cole's residence, allegedly to get more drugs.

The two later picked up Cote and took him back to his own home, where he reportedly changed clothes. He later spend the night at Lefleur and Tarr's Dogtown Road home, according to the court document.

When police interviewed Cote at the Dogtown Road home the morning of July 18, they saw he had recent cuts and bruises on his forearm, back, leg and face. He told them he had nothing to do with Cole's death.

DNA on clothing found under Cote's home on Hurd's Corner Road in Palmyra matched DNA from an oral swab taken from Cote and from blood taken during Cole's autopsy, court documents show.

Cote was arrested Wednesday night at his grandmother's house in St. Albans.

In the courtroom this afternoon, Cote, handcuffed and in an orange jailhouse jumpsuit, stood with his court-appointed attorneys John Alsop and Philip Mohlar of Skowhegan.

Cote's friends and relatives wouldn't comment as they left the courthouse today. A man and a woman who sat with the victim's advocate also wouldn't comment to reporters.

Cote is charged with intentional or knowing murder in a criminal complaint. The next step is a grand jury hearing.

"He's been charged, right now, but he has not been indicted by a grand jury and the state can't proceed on any felony charge or murder charge until he's been indicted," Mohlar said. "We anticipate that will happen in the next month or so."

Mohlar would not speculate on a motive or how Cote will plead when the time comes.

"He's a young kid," Mohlar said. "I think it's fair to say he's nervous. He's scared. He's never been in jail like this before. He's under a lot of stress and under a lot of pressure, but he's holding up pretty well."

Cote has a short history of misdemeanor convictions for theft, forgery and failing to show up for court.

"He's got a lot of family here supporting him today and I think that's indicative of how he is viewed by his family," Mohlar said.

A conviction on a murder charge carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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Additional Photos

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Phil Mohlar, center, attorney for Jason C. Cote, speaks to reporters following Cote's appearance in Somerset County Superior Court today.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans


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