BANGOR, Maine — A judge set bail at $100,000 cash for a local man accused of beating a 41-year-old pregnant woman who was staying at his Essex Street apartment so severely she may never see again.
Joshua Cole, 34, appeared by video from jail Wednesday before District Court Judge Gregory Campbell at the Penobscot Judicial Center. Cole is facing multiple charges stemming from the brutal incident in his apartment building early Monday.
The pregnant woman told police that Cole was her boyfriend and that she had been living with him for about a month. He was not the father of her expected child, however, police say.
Police were called to 210 Essex St. about 2:15 a.m. by a neighbor who told police Cole was strangling the woman. The neighbor and her boyfriend tried to intervene, but were injured in the process and had to retreat inside their apartment, which is across the hall from Cole’s.
Police found the woman “laying in the hallway on her left side with extensive trauma to her face,” including severe eye injuries, Officer Kim Donnell wrote in her report, which was filed in court as part of the probable cause affidavit.
The pregnant woman told Donnell and the other officers that “her eyes were burning” and Donnell said she did her best to keep the injured woman distracted.
“I tried to get [the woman] to crawl to my location, but she stated she couldn’t see me and would not crawl towards my voice,” the officer wrote. “Officer [John]Hermanson and I grabbed a hold of her and dragged her towards the stairwell.”
The woman told police she returned from working a temporary job at the Cross Insurance Center and went to bed but was awakened by her boyfriend, who started beating her in the face. She escaped and ran downstairs, where she met a neighbor who asked if she was OK.
Shortly afterward, a second fight ensued on the landing that separates Cole and his neighbors.
“[Cole] started choking and beating her again,” the report by Officer Nathaniel Alvarado states.
“The nature of the crimes listed is horrific,” Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, told Campbell. “She is now in a hospital in Massachusetts. We do expect she is going to lose her vision as a result of his actions.”
Police on Tuesday said the woman and her fetus are expected to survive.
Officers used a Taser to subdue Cole. Roberts said Cole gave “bizarre” answers when questioned by police about the attack after his arrest.
Cole initially was charged with elevated aggravated assault on a pregnant person, which is a Class A crime that carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison, and a Class B aggravated assault charge stemming from his encounter with a neighbor who tried to intervene, which could result in up to 10 years behind bars and $10,000 for each.
The official filing on Wednesday listed two Class B aggravated assaults, and Roberts explained the paperwork for the assault against a pregnant person still is pending.
“He will be charged with the Class A elevated aggravated assault on a pregnant person,” the prosecutor said.
Roberts also asked for a mental evaluation of Cole.
“He has been engaged in treatment for a psychiatric disorder for quite some time now,” he said.
Campbell tentatively scheduled a Friday hearing to discuss the matter with Cole and his court-appointed defense attorney, Hunter Tzovarras.
Cole was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in Bangor on June 5 for fighting, and the next day was convicted and ordered to pay a $150 fine, according to a background check done by the BDN through the Maine State Bureau of Identification.
Cole has a lengthy criminal history outside Maine, Roberts said, listing arrests in Washington state, Nevada, Oregon and California, some that are listed as “crimes of violence.”
Details of his arrests in other states were not immediately available.
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.