BANGOR, Maine — Police arrested a local man on a charge of murder Monday in connection with the death of the woman who lived with him, calling it a case of domestic violence.
David Coon, 50, who lives at 23 Jefferson St., is accused of killing Sherry Clifford, 49, who was found dead Friday night in their apartment by emergency responders, according to Bangor police.
Someone called 911 about 6:40 p.m., requesting an ambulance for a woman with breathing difficulties in Apartment B of the building, but when firefighters and police officers arrived, “it was determined that a woman was deceased,” Bangor police Lt. Tim Reid said in a press release issued Monday.
“This is a case of domestic violence where Sherry Clifford and David Coon were living together,” the release stated.
Coon told a Bangor Daily News reporter on Saturday that he was the one who called 911, following a physical altercation he had with Clifford.
Coon, his brother, and a mutual friend spent an emotional hour talking with the reporter in the upstairs apartment that Coon and Clifford shared. Coon led most of the conversation, often answering questions directed at the others in the room.
The couple’s bedroom had a single mattress on the floor and the sparsely decorated living room had a chair, couch and TV. On the coffee table was a pack of Clifford’s menthol cigarettes.
Coon, who described both Clifford and himself as alcoholics, said she got physical with him on Friday night and that he subdued her, eventually wrestling her to the floor.
“Sherry, I’m getting up now,” Coon said, recounting his version of what happened.
As he got up, he said, her body went limp. He initially thought she was pretending to be unconscious, and when he realized she wasn’t, he called 911 and tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate her, he said.
Crying at times, he referred to Clifford as his fiancee and said that “a part of me left with her.”
The couple had been dating since September, Coon said. He showed a love letter he said she sent to him on her last day in jail.
Reid said the story Coon told the BDN essentially mirrors the police affidavit filed with the court. That affidavit was not immediately available Monday afternoon.
An autopsy on Clifford’s body was performed on Saturday at the medical examiner’s office in Augusta.
“The cause of death is being withheld at this time,” Reid said. “The manner of death was determined to be homicide.”
Coon and Clifford both have criminal histories, according to background checks and Bangor Daily News archives.
Coon’s history includes 1986 convictions for unlawful sexual contact, gross sexual misconduct and criminal threatening. Entries in the BDN archives matching Coon’s name show multiple convictions for operating under the influence.
Clifford’s history includes a 2010 conviction for assault on an officer and convictions in 2011 for assault and domestic violence assault, as well as a 2005 OUI conviction.
Coon was taken to the Penobscot County Jail, where he remained Monday afternoon. He is expected to make his first court appearance at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center. The Attorney General’s office is prosecuting the case.
Of the 23 homicides in Maine in 2012, 11 were victims of domestic violence, according to BDN archives.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.