BANGOR, Maine — Police have arrested a local man with a long criminal record of assault and criminal threatening after he walked into Java Joe’s Cafe on Central Street on Monday morning and slashed a female employee’s neck with a knife.
“We obviously rushed right downtown and within a few minutes apprehended Jason Dean, 32, of Bangor and charged him with Class B felony aggravated assault,” Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said.
“This is a random act,” he added, saying the suspect and victim did not know each other and police did not know why Dean attacked the woman.
“I don’t know,” Edwards said Monday afternoon. “We’re still working on that.”
The woman, who appeared to be in her 20s, with blond hair, was seen at Java Joe’s Cafe at 98 Central St., just after 11 a.m. being treated for a wound to the right side of her neck. She later was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center by an officer for treatment of an injury that was not life-threatening, according to police. Police did not release her name or her age.
Edwards said the victim was very upset by the attack, and wanted to be left alone.
After he cut the woman, Dean reportedly ran from the coffee shop down Central Street and toward Franklin Street. He was followed by a witness who helped direct police to a building at 29 Franklin St, where he was apprehended minutes after the attack.
While police would not confirm the identity of the witness, it is believed to be another employee of Java Joe’s who was seen leaving the Franklin Street building moments before police left with a handcuffed Dean.
The Franklin Street building is home to North East Occupational Exchange, a social service agency that provides services to people who suffer mental health or drug abuse problems. Officials at the agency said they could not comment on the incident.
Edwards said he couldn’t confirm rumors that Dean threw a knife into Kenduskeag Stream, but did say no weapon was recovered. Police and others downtown could be seen looking over the edge of the Central Street bridge into the fast-rushing water minutes after the attack.
Dean has a history of criminal activity that dates back to 1997, according to his criminal record provided by the Maine State Bureau of Identification.
During an incident in April 1998 on Ohio Street, police found him standing in his apartment doorway with a knife, according to Bangor Daily News reports.
In that incident, Dean reportedly was threatening someone else at his residence. When Bangor police arrived at the apartment, they found windows broken and items such as a toaster, vacuum cleaner and dishes on the front lawn. Police were able to convince Dean to put down the knife — which he placed in a sink — before he was arrested.
He was convicted on two counts of criminal threatening, and sentenced in July of that year to 14 days in jail, which were suspended, and one year of probation with the stipulation that he follow rules established by OHI Inc., a local nonprofit social service organization. He also was ordered to pay $463 restitution.
In August 1998, Dean was convicted of another criminal threatening charge stemming from a July 1997 incident, and was ordered to serve eight days in jail. In November 1998, Dean was convicted of assault and sentenced to six months in jail, with all but 14 days suspended, and another year of probation.
In July 2003, Dean was convicted of assault and sentenced to five days in jail.
Dean was charged with aggravated assault on Monday because he “intended to cause bodily harm with a deadly weapon,” Edwards said.
If convicted of the felony charge, Dean could face a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.