Bath man pleads guilty to stabbing girlfriend in neck, cutting her jugular vein

Posted Sept. 28, 2012, at 4:55 p.m.
Matthew Wycoff
Bath Police Department
Matthew Wycoff

BATH, Maine — Matthew Wycoff stabbed his girlfriend in the neck, lacerating her jugular vein, in a jealous attack the morning after her birthday party in February, according to Sagadahoc County prosecutors.

Wycoff, 28, of Bath pleaded guilty to elevated aggravated assault Friday afternoon in Sagadahoc County Superior Court.

Bath Police Chief Michael Field described the case as one of the most serious cases of domestic violence ever seen in that city.

As part of a plea deal, prosecutors will seek a sentence of 15 years in prison, with all but eight years suspended, and six years of probation for Wycoff. Sagadahoc County Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mador told Judge Andrew Horton on Friday afternoon she is seeking probation conditions that Wycoff have no contact with the victim or her family, that he not use or possess drugs or alcohol, and that he seek counseling.

Horton said the maximum sentence he could receive is 30 years in prison, $50,000 in fines and six years of probation, and his sentencing will be held the week of Nov. 26 or Dec. 3. The judge can agree to accept the recommended sentence or impose a different one if he chooses.

Wycoff appeared in court in a blue-gray prison jumpsuit, with wrists and ankles shackled, and bright orange Crocs.

Bath police reported that on the morning of Feb. 20, they responded to a domestic fight call at a Washington Street apartment building, where they allegedly found a 38-year-old female suffering from what officers at the time described as “serious stab wounds to her neck.”

Mador told Horton on Friday the night before the incident there was a birthday party for the victim at the Washington Street apartment she shared with Wycoff, described by police as her live-in boyfriend. Mador said that on the following morning, a friend who stayed over from the party was fixing coffee in the kitchen when she heard the victim yell an obscenity at Wycoff in the nearby dining room, then a scuffle.

That friend rounded the corner to see Wycoff on top of the victim, appearing to be “punching her in the face,” Mador said. Only after that friend had called 911 did she look back and see large amounts of blood around the victim, the prosecutor said.

The victim and witnesses at the scene claimed Wycoff “expressed jealousy about the victim becoming interested in someone else” at the party the night before, Mador said.

After the alleged attack, witnesses told police he fled in a black Kia sport utility vehicle. Topsham police officers located the suspect approximately 30 minutes later at a gas station on Main Street in that town, took him into custody and turned him over to Bath police.

The victim was transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland with what investigators described as “multiple stab wounds to her neck and shoulder.” Mador said Friday if the case were to go to trial, she would call on representatives of the hospital to testify that the victim suffered neck wounds, including the laceration of the left internal jugular vein.

Surgeons repaired the wounds and later discharged the victim, Mador said.

The assistant district attorney also said investigators found blood on Wycoff’s pants and hands after he was taken into custody on Feb. 20, and the blood was found to be largely the victim’s.

Attorney William Baghdoyan, representing Wycoff, told the judge Friday that if the case had gone to trial, he would have raised a question about whether his client or the victim first grabbed the knife and began the altercation, and whether either of the two parties was of culpable state of mind because both still were legally drunk at the time of the incident.

But with the guilty plea, Baghdoyan and Wycoff acknowledged that the state likely had enough evidence to convince a judge or jury of his guilt in the case.

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