Man pleads not guilty to attempting to kill wife, lover

Posted Aug. 22, 2008, at 9:31 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A bright pink scar ringed the neck of an Eddington man Friday when he pleaded not guilty to trying to murder his estranged wife and the man he reportedly believed was her new boyfriend in June before trying to slit his own throat.

Ryan D. Witmer, 32, pleaded not guilty in Penobscot County Superior Court to aggravated attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault, aggravated assault, burglary, violation of a protective order, domestic violence stalking and assault.

He was indicted earlier this month by the Penobscot County grand jury.

A trial date has not been set.

Witmer is being held at the Penobscot County Jail and is expected to undergo psychological evaluations before seeking a bail hearing.

He allegedly attacked his 36-year-old wife and a 41-year-old teacher and part-time karate instructor she was seeing Sunday, June 30, as her three children, ages 7 months to 9 years, were sleeping upstairs. The children were uninjured.

Witmer’s wife suffered defensive wounds to her forearms, according to court documents. The male victim has been released from the hospital and is expected to recover, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s office.

The teacher suffered 11 stab wounds to the back. Before both his lungs collapsed from his wounds, he managed to prevent Witmer from injuring his wife more severely, according to police reports.

Witmer allegedly used an automatic garage door opener he kept when he and his wife separated last month to get into the home on Stone Wall Drive in Orrington. He then kicked in a locked door, according to court documents.

When the man went to investigate, Witmer allegedly began stabbing him with a knife and saying, “Die. Die. I’m gonna kill you.”

As the teacher lay wounded, Witmer allegedly turned to his wife. He grabbed her, turned her around, threw her to the floor and started trying to stab her, according to court document.

The other man pulled Witmer off her. Witmer then drove the knife into his own chest before raising it to his throat and slicing it open, according to court documents. The teacher allegedly knocked the knife out of his hand, according to court documents.

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