Bangor man pleads not guilty in slashing attack

Posted April 17, 2009, at 3:15 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The local man accused of stabbing at and cutting a woman’s neck with a knife at a downtown coffee shop last month pleaded not guilty Friday in Penobscot County Superior Court to charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Jason Dean, 32, remains at the Penobscot County Jail unable to make $50,000 bail, a jail official said Friday.

A motion for a psychiatric examination to determine if he is competent to stand trial is pending in superior court, Dean’s attorney David Bate of Bangor said after the arraignment.

Dean allegedly entered Java Joe’s Cafe at 98 Central St. at about 11 a.m. Monday, March 16, and walked behind the counter, where he used a steak knife to cut the neck of the victim, who was washing dishes, court documents state. Police said Dean did not know the woman, who is pregnant.

The woman suffered a 2-inch-long, half-inch-wide cut to the right side of her neck that police said last month was not life-threatening. She was treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center and released the same day.

Dean, who has a criminal history of assault and criminal threatening that dates back to 1997, had been carrying the knife around for several days, according to a report previously published by the Bangor Daily News. He was thinking about hurting several individuals, according to Bangor police Detective Tim Cotton’s investiga-tive report.

“He said he was becoming ‘angrier and angrier’ until today when he stated that he had blown his top,” Cotton said in his report. “He said the killing spree thoughts had been going through his head ‘constantly.’

“It was obvious that he had some severe mental health issues that were not currently being addressed adequately,” the detective said in the report.

Dean, who reportedly admitted to police that he cut the woman, told police that he had spent time in several mental heath institutions, including Bangor Mental Heath Institute and The Acadia Hospital. According to the BDN report, he was a client of Northeast Occupational Exchange, where police arrested him.

Northeast Occupational Exchange, at 29 Franklin St., is a social service agency that serves people who suffer mental health or drug abuse problems.

If convicted of the attempted murder charge, Dean could face a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

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