BANGOR, Maine — A former First Street resident said he did not see his childhood friend get stabbed in the early morning hours of May 22, 2012, but he testified Tuesday that a mortally wounded Andy Smith came through the door of his apartment house and fell into his arms.
Eugene Cox, 43, of Hermon testified on the second day of Jason Trickett’s jury-waived trial about the street fight he saw before Smith was stabbed and events after the altercation.
Trickett, 42, is charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of Smith, 38, of Bangor after a party that included alcohol and drugs at a 71 First St. apartment. Trickett admitted to Bangor police that he stabbed the victim after Smith got into a fistfight with one of two women who lived at the apartment, according to court documents.
Trickett’s jury-waived trial began Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center before Superior Court Justice William Anderson. It is expected to conclude Wednesday afternoon.
Defense attorney Hunter Tzovarras said in his opening statement that Trickett acted in self-defense. Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson told Anderson on Monday that in four interviews with police, Trickett never said he was defending himself or others.
Cox, who lived on the third floor of 69 First St. in 2012, testified that his kitchen window looked out on the street. He said his wife called him to the kitchen when a fistfight between Smith and Samantha Bell broke out in the middle of First Street.
He testified that the two were arguing loudly when Bell slapped Smith at least twice.
Then, he said, “it went into a full-out brawl.”
Cox said the argument was about “who had done what to who” and an earlier drug deal between the two.
“I was watching it, thinking Andy kind of deserved it, the way he was acting with Sam,” Cox said. “He was raised better than that.”
He testified that Sarah Denbow, Bell’s roommate, came out of 71 First St. with a board and hit Smith with it. Smith took it away from her, Cox testified.
At that point, Denbow went into her apartment and brought three men, including Trickett, out to the street, Cox said. The altercation moved around to the left of the building near a Dumpster.
“When Andy [came] back into my view, he was bleeding,” Cox testified. “I ran downstairs.”
Cox said that as he reached the bottom of the stairs, Smith fell through the door. Smith’s childhood friend said that he ran upstairs and for the first time in his life called 911.
Denbow, 29, of Bangor testified Monday that she lived at 71 First St. at the time of the stabbing. Denbow said that she and friends, including Trickett, had been drinking and partying that day when Smith showed up shortly after midnight “drunk and belligerent.”
Denbow said that she and her friends had “been drinking all day” and that she had consumed a 12-pack of beer. She testified that some people injected drugs, but she did not. Denbow said she did not know what drug or drugs people were using.
She testified that she kicked Smith out of the apartment because he was fighting with a male guest, but he continued to shout at people inside from the street and pounded on windows. Denbow said that Smith woke up Bell, her roommate.
“Andy was out of control,” Denbow testified.
The first of four recorded interviews with Bangor police was played late Tuesday afternoon. In it, Trickett did not admit to stabbing Smith.
“Someone said [Smith] cut himself bad,” Trickett told Detectives Brent Beaulieu and Tim Cotton. “I don’t know who said it.”
The other interviews with police are to be played Wednesday for the judge.
Trickett has been held at the Penobscot County Jail since his arrest June 8, 2012, unable to post $50,000 bail.
Anderson could find Trickett guilty or innocent after closing arguments or take the case under advisement and issue a written decision at a later date.
If convicted, Trickett faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
An earlier version of this story requires correction. Jason Trickett, not Andy Smith, faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 if convicted.