The man accused of killing his mother and her boyfriend at her Limington home before setting it on fire in June has pleaded not guilty.
Matthew Cote, 21, of Limington entered his plea Monday during an appearance via Zoom at York County Superior Court in Alfred, according to the Portland Press Herald. He has been charged with two counts of murder and a count of arson.
Cote has been held at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland, but will soon be moved to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, where he will undergo a mental health evaluation, the Press Herald reported.
The bodies of 47-year-old Cheryl Cote and 46-year-old Daniel Perkins were found in the early morning hours of June 17 when firefighters went to the Hardscrabble Road home to extinguish a blaze there. The fire was spotted about 5:13 a.m. by a retired firefighter who unsuccessfully tried to get inside the home.
When firefighters finally entered the home, they found Cote and Perkins dead inside.
Investigators believe the couple did not die in the fire and both had apparent gunshot wounds, according to an affidavit. A neighbor reportedly heard gunshots in the area between 1 and 2 a.m.
Matthew Cote, who lived there with his mother, was found later that morning driving his mother’s Chevrolet Trailblazer not far from the Hardscrabble Road home. When he was placed in handcuffs and asked if he knew why, Cote allegedly told police, “I guess manslaughter.”
He also allegedly told police that, “Once I snapped, I couldn’t stop,” according to the affidavit, but did not explicitly admit to the killings.
Two family members told the Press Herald that Cote has struggled with mental illness, and a York County Superior Court judge in June ordered that he undergo a mental health examination.
Cote, who is being held without bail at the York County Jail in Alfred, has not yet entered a plea nor been indicted by a grand jury.