September 6, 2013

Palmyra man indicted for murder in death of Detroit man in July

By Doug Harlow
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN — A Palmyra man has been indicted by a Somerset County grand jury in connection with the bludgeoning death of another man in July in Detroit.

click image to enlarge

Jason C. Cote

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Jason C. Cote, 22, is charged with the intentional, knowing or depraved indifference murder of Ricky B. Cole on July 17, according to the indictment handed down Friday.

Cote is alleged to have beaten Cole, 47, with a pipe in a mobile home Cole was renting on Main Street in Detroit.

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

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

The state Office of Attorney General can proceed with a formal charge against Cote now that he has been indicted. An arraignment date will be set in the coming weeks in Somerset County Superior Court.

Assistant Attorney General Lean Zainea is the lead prosecutor in the case. Cote is represented by defense attorneys Philip Mohlar and John Alsop, of Skowhegan.

Cote entered no plea to the murder complaint against him during his initial appearance July 26 in Superior Court.

He was arrested July 24 at his grandmother’s house in St. Albans and has been held without bail since then at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison.

When police interviewed Cote on the morning of July 18 at a friend’s home in Palmyra, they saw he had recent cuts and bruises on his forearm, back, leg and face, according to court documents. 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. On July 17, Cote snorted methadone and Xanax at the friend’s home on Dogtown Road in Palmyra, according to the court affidavit. He later was dropped off at Cole’s residence, allegedly to get more drugs.

Cote has a short history of misdemeanor convictions for theft, forgery and failing to appear. A conviction on a murder charge carries a sentence of 25 years to life.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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