Palmyra man accused of murder used pipe as weapon, affidavit says

Jason Cote
Jason Cote
Posted July 26, 2013, at 2:41 p.m.
Last modified July 29, 2013, at 5:56 p.m.
Jason Cote of Palmyra sits in Somerset County Superior Court on Friday for his initial appearance after being charged with murder in connection with the death of Ricky Cole of Detroit.
Jason Cote of Palmyra sits in Somerset County Superior Court on Friday for his initial appearance after being charged with murder in connection with the death of Ricky Cole of Detroit.
A mugshot of Ricky Cole. State police announced Friday afternoon that they believe Cole is the identity of the man discovered dead in a mobile home on Thursday.
Courtesy of Somerset County Jail
A mugshot of Ricky Cole. State police announced Friday afternoon that they believe Cole is the identity of the man discovered dead in a mobile home on Thursday.

SKOWHEGAN, Maine — The Palmyra man accused of killing a Detroit man last week used a pipe to bludgeon Ricky Cole, who had been supplying him with drugs, according to a police affidavit.

Jason Cote, 22, appeared in Somerset County Superior Court for the first time on Friday facing the charge of murder. He stood before Justice John Nivison, who read the charge against him. Cote said he understood the charge, but said nothing else.

Cote is accused of killing Cole, 47, who was found dead in his home on Main Street in Detroit on the morning of July 18.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson requested a Harnish bail hearing to be done within five days, but defense attorneys John Alsop and Philip Mohlar said they needed more time to review the case. The hearing will be done when requested by the defense and Cote will be held without bail until that time.

An autopsy revealed that Cole suffered multiple blunt-force impact trauma and extensive blood loss, according to an affidavit written by Maine State Police Detective Bryant Jacques. Maine State Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Mark Flomenbaum “observed deep internal injuries, including a fractured skull,” according to the affidavit.

Blood evidence taken from Cote’s shorts matched that of Cole’s, according to the affidavit.

David Lafleur, a Palmyra resident who initially called police and asked them to check Cole’s home at approximately 3 a.m. July 18, told investigators that Cote was at Lafleur’s house in the early morning hours that day. Lafleur’s girlfriend, Amy Tarr, told him she was concerned that Cote had done something to Cole, because Cote told her he had hit Cole with a pipe.

Cote told police he had mowed Cole’s lawn the afternoon before Cole’s body was found. Cote told police that Cole was alive the last time he saw him at 3 p.m. July 17, according to the affidavit. After mowing Cole’s lawn, Cote said he went fishing with Lafleur and was at Lafleur’s house the whole night.

Later that night, Cote had been snorting methadone and Xanax while at Lafleur’s residence on Dogtown Road in Palmyra, according to Lafleur. Cote said he wanted to go home, but as Lafleur was driving Cote to his Hurd’s Corner Road home in Palmyra, Cote decided he wanted to visit Cole’s home in Detroit instead.

Lafleur described Cote as “pretty [messed] up” because of the drugs, according to court documents.

Lafleur told police that he drove Cote to Cole’s residence so Cote could get more Xanax, according to the affidavit.

Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug.

Lafleur said he watched Cote go into Cole’s home. Lafleur told police he then left without Cote, but intended to meet him later at Cote’s Hurd’s Corner Road residence to get high.

Cote called his Hurd’s Corner Road residence where Lafleur and Tarr were waiting and they agreed to pick up Cote on Main Street in Detroit.

Lafleur and Tarr picked up Cote approximately a half-mile from Cole’s residence.

Lafleur “observed Jason Cote appear from the wooded side of the roadway,” read the affidavit. “Jason got in the back of his Jeep and was real sweaty. Jason then told him something to the effect that he did something ‘[messed] up and can’t talk about it.’”

At about 8:30 p.m., before Cote was picked up by Lafleur, a Detroit resident had stopped on Main Street near Cole’s residence for a deer in the roadway. While he was waiting, he spotted a male fitting Cote’s description in the driveway.

“The male was struggling with his clothing, looked disoriented and was red in the face,” read the affidavit.

A teenage girl who lives with Jason Cote and his brother Josh Cote at their Hurd’s Corner Road residence said Lafleur, Tarr and Jason Cote returned to the home about 9 that night.

“[She] reports that Jason was acting like he did something wrong and was acting ‘antsy,’” Jacques wrote in his affidavit.

After returning to his Hurd’s Corner Road home, “Jason Cote went to the back of the trailer and appeared shortly thereafter in the living room with just boxer shorts; he then went towards the bathroom at the front of the trailer,” according to court documents. “Josh asked him what was the matter and Jason replied that it was none of his business. Lafleur said that Jason then returned wearing a change of clothes.”

Cote, Lafleur and Tarr then left to return to Lafleur’s residence.

Tarr told police that she had confronted Cote, who was staying overnight with Lafleur and Tarr in their Dogtown Road residence in Palmyra.

Tarr “asked ‘what the [expletive] did you do to Rick?’ Tarr stated that Jason’s response was ‘I hit him with a pipe,’” said the affidavit.

Cote’s grandmother Clairina Cohen was with Cote on the morning of July 17 and said she saw Cote wearing shorts that were “tan and green and a dark blue t-shirt.” Cote denied owning such shorts.

Underneath a plastic skirting of a vacant trailer on Hurd’s Corner Road, approximately 100 feet from Cote’s residence, state police reportedly found a pair of camouflage shorts with tan belt, blue T-shirt, black-and-white sneakers and white Nike socks. There were red and brown stains on those items.

The items were sent to the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory in Augusta where Forensic DNA Analyst Christine Waterhouse analyzed the items on July 20.

“A thirteen locus DNA profile from the cutting of the human blood stain matched the thirteen point locus DNA profile obtained from the known blood standard taken at the autopsy from Ricky Cole,” read the affidavit.

Cote had recent lacerations and abrasions on the forearm, back, leg and face when police interviewed him on July 18, according to the court document, but he denied being in a fight with anyone and maintained he hadn’t been in a fight in years.

Cote was arrested by police on Wednesday evening and taken to Somerset County Jail in Madison, where he remains.

Because Cote had not yet been indicted on the murder charge, he was not asked to make a plea.

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