Mother: Son threatened ex-girlfriend

Posted Jan. 13, 2010, at 8:30 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The mother of a Bangor man on trial for attempted murder testified Wednesday that her son had said while he fiddled with knives at her kitchen table that if he saw his ex-girlfriend with another man he would kill them both.

“He had one [knife] in each hand,” Robin Goodness, 54, of Brewer, who was subpoenaed by the prosecution, told the jury in the second day of testimony at the Penobscot Judicial Center. “He said that if he saw her with someone else, he may use the knives on them and that he probably would kill them both.”

Less than seven hours later on April 26, 2008, David Archer’s former girlfriend lay bleeding from two stab wounds on the sofa of a Hudson Street apartment in Bangor.

If she had not received treatment immediately, the woman, now a 24-year-old recovering drug addict who lives in Hampden, could have died, Dr. Rafael Grossman, a trauma surgeon at Eastern Maine Medical Center who treated her, told the jury Wednesday. He testified that one of the stab wounds struck her liver and required surgery to control the bleeding.

Archer was arrested the day after the stabbing. He is charged with attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and aggravated assault.

If convicted of attempted murder or elevated aggravated assault, Archer faces up to 30 years in prison. If convicted of aggravated assault, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

The victim, who is not being identified by the Bangor Daily News, has recovered from her wounds. She testified Tuesday that she dated Archer, 35, for six or eight weeks before she broke off the relationship a few days before the stabbing.

She told the jury on Tuesday that Archer stabbed her outside a friend’s apartment where she and her new boyfriend had spent the previous night. The victim also testified she, her new boyfriend and the couple who lived in the apartment injected cocaine several times during the evening.

Goodness said Wednesday that her son stopped by to see her between 2:30 and 3 p.m. on April 26, 2008. She said that he was upset about the breakup and crying.

“He said that he didn’t care about anything anymore because he had hepatitis C,” she said.

Archer’s mother also told the jury she did not know exactly how long the blades on the knives were. The woman described one as a small pocketknife and the other as a larger folding knife. She said that both had buttons, which allowed them to be opened with one hand.

No weapons have been introduced into evidence during the trial.

Greg Campbell, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, said after court adjourned Tuesday that the knife used to stab the victim was not recovered.

On Wednesday, jurors also heard recordings of three phone calls Archer made to his mother on May 2, 25 and 28 from the Penobscot County Jail. Inmates may make collect phone calls from the jail if pre-paid accounts have been set up. At the start of every phone call, a recording warns both parties the call will be recorded.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson, who is presiding over the trial, originally ruled that only short snippets of the calls would be played by the prosecution.

Archer went against the advice of his attorney, Stephen Smith of Bangor, and insisted that all three conversations be played in their entirety. The defendant compared jurors hearing portions of conversations to reading a few pages from a book instead of the entire volume.

The recordings, peppered with the salty language of mother and son, included Archer denying he stabbed his ex-girlfriend. In one call, he told his mother that the man who lived in the Hudson Street apartment stabbed his ex-girlfriend and lied to the police about it. In another, he told his mother the victim had attacked him.

Archer also urged his mother to “take the fifth” when she testified before the Penobscot County grand jury. Goodness was subpoenaed to testify on May 5, 2008, according to the phone conversation.

Under cross-examination, Archer’s mother said her son had never admitted to her that he had stabbed his ex-girlfriend. Goodness also said that her son was not a violent person but had used illegal drugs since he was about 18 years old.

Smith told jurors Tuesday in his opening statement that Archer would testify that he did not remember stabbing his former girlfriend. The attorney also said that Archer did not intend to hurt the victim and was not fully aware of what he was doing because minutes before the stabbing he had injected cocaine.

Archer is expected to take the stand today. If the jury does not begin deliberations today, the trial will not resume until Tuesday because of the state shutdown day Friday and Martin Luther King Day on Monday.

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