OLD TOWN, Maine — Local police called their counterparts at the University of Maine on Tuesday morning asking for assistance with finding a man, possibly armed with a knife, who beat up his estranged girlfriend and took off running for the second time in a month.
Jason Dennis, 25, broke down the 33-year-old woman’s locked door around 7:15 a.m. and in a fit of rage strangled and punched her, leaving very visible injuries, Old Town police Officer Debbie Holmes said.
“She’s in a lot of pain,” the officer said. “He basically tried to choke her and wouldn’t allow her to leave.”
The woman, who fought back and was able to get away from Dennis and call police, was taken to St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor.
Dennis, who took the battery out of the woman’s cellphone and grabbed all of her cash during the argument, fled after allegedly assaulting her, Old Town police Sgt. Travis Roy, said. He also took off running after he assaulted the same woman, who is the mother of his 1-year-old child, back on Sept. 27.
Old Town asked for assistance from UMaine because the woman lives near campus.
“We had reason to believe he had a knife,” Roy said.
Officers also stopped BAT Community Connector buses traveling through the area Tuesday morning and asked Orono police for help, the sergeant said.
UMaine activated its emergency messaging system and issued a text alert just before 9 a.m. stating, “UMaine police are assisting Old Town police in the attempt to locate a suspect in an assault case. The person in question may be on campus and he may be armed with a knife. He is a white male, 5′ 6″ tall, weighing approximately 130 pounds.”
The emergency alert was posted on the UMaine website and sent to all students and staff by cellphone, email or Twitter.
A second emergency alert was posted 10 minutes later letting everyone know Dennis had been caught in Old Town.
“They asked university police to help because the possibility existed that a man may be coming to campus armed with a knife,” Carr said. “He never got to campus.”
Officer Joshua Loring noticed Dennis walking on Center Street around 9 a.m. and quickly subdued him after a short foot chase, Roy said.
Dennis was arrested and faces five charges: domestic violence assault, obstructing the report of a crime, criminal restraint, refusing to submit to arrest and violating his conditions of release.
“We’re requesting he be charged with robbery for taking her cellphone and money” after breaking into her residence, Roy said.
Brewer police arrested Dennis on Oct. 11 after he called 911 and hung up. When Brewer police Officer Eduardo Benjamin arrived, he reportedly smelled alcohol on Dennis, which was a violation of his bail conditions.
Dennis racked up another charge by reportedly refusing to sign a summons when he got to jail, Brewer police Cpl. Nelson Feero said at the time.
A witness to the Sept. 27 argument told police the woman told Dennis she didn’t want to be abused anymore.
The woman put up a fight on Tuesday, Holmes said.
The archived mug shot released Tuesday by the jail doesn’t show it, but the woman was able to scratch Dennis across his face while trying to get away, the officer said.
BDN writer Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.