Bangor man charged with murder in strangulation to plead guilty to manslaughter, says AG’s office

Posted Jan. 02, 2014, at 5:35 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 02, 2014, at 2:27 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The local man charged with murder in connection with the May asphyxiation death of Sherry Clifford, 49, of Bangor is scheduled to plead guilty to manslaughter Thursday afternoon at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

David Coon, 50, of Bangor has reached a plea agreement, according to the Maine Attorney General’s Office, which prosecutes homicide cases.

Coon and Clifford lived together in an apartment on Jefferson Street, according to a previously published report.

He will plead guilty to the lesser charge and Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson will recommend that Coon be sentenced to 25 years in prison with all but 12 years suspended followed by four years of probation. The murder charge is expected to be dropped when Coon is sentenced at a later date.

Defense attorneys Jeffrey Silverstein and Logan Perkins of Bangor will be allowed to argue for less time, according to Benson.

Coon called 911 about 6:37 p.m. Friday, May 3, and said that “she OD’d or she drank herself to the death,” the affidavit said. When police and Bangor rescue personnel arrived, Clifford was found dead on the floor of their apartment.

He told police that Clifford had “freaked out” and attacked him. He admitted that he “pinned Clifford to the floor and she told him that she could not breathe,” the court document said. “Coon stated that Clifford died while pinned to the floor. Coon said that he had covered Clifford’s mouth with his hand to quiet her.”

In a later interview, “Coon admitted that he was squeezing tightly on Clifford’s face and although he does not recall this, it is possible that his hand may have slid to Clifford’s neck during the incident,” the affidavit said. “Coon also admitted that this altercation may have lasted longer than five minutes as he originally stated.”

Clifford was a native of Bangor and owned a hair salon in the area for at least eight years.

Silverstein said in May, when he was appointed to represent Coon, that his client was “anguished” over Clifford’s death.

“He’s very distraught over the circumstances that led to his being in court today,” he said after Coon made his first court appearance. “He is distressed over her loss.”

Coon has been held without bail since his arrest May 6.

He faces between 25 years and life in prison if convicted of murder. The maximum sentence for manslaughter is 30 years.

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