Tuesday, June 18, 2013
AUGUSTA -- A judge will decide whether Michael T. Young killed his domestic partner David Cox 18 months ago.
Michael T. Young
Young, 41, of Augusta, opted against a jury trial during a brief hearing Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court.
"I have decided to waive my right to a jury trial," Young told Justice Michaela Murphy. He signed a document affirming that decision and Murphy said the trial will begin Monday, Dec. 17, in the same courtroom.
Young's defense attorney, Pamela Ames, said the defense opted for a trial by a judge "because this case is so purely circumstantial. There is no confession to law enforcement, and the statements aren't incriminatory."
She added that "the relationship between the defendant and the victim is something a jury may have some difficulty sorting out."
The indictment charges Young with intentional or knowing murder or depraved indifference murder.
Young has consistently said he is innocent. He was the one who made a frantic call at 5:15 a.m. June 11, 2011, begging police and rescuers to help Cox.
"I'm holding his heart. Please save him. He's a Mormon. He's a good guy. He's losing a lot of blood every second," Young says, according to a transcript of the 911 call that was provided to Ames.
Police arrived at the Green Street apartment the men shared to find Young's hands and shorts covered with blood.
Young told them he had been ill and in bed and got up after hearing a bang and found Cox in the kitchen slumped over Young's bicycle and with a knife in his chest.
The state medical examiner ruled that the cause of death was a stab wound to the heart.
Young was initially questioned that day by local and state police at the Augusta Police Department and arrested on a warrant charging him with failure to pay fines. He was freed on bail shortly afterward and then questioned by police several times about a month later. He left for Florida shortly after.
Nine months after Cox's death, Young was indicted on a charge of murdering him. He was arrested April 5 in Florida and extradited to Maine.
A court affidavit by Maine State Police Detective Christopher Tupper describes the couple's neighbors as telling police the men had a turbulent relationship and that Young told several of them "how he had done everything to David Cox but shoot him" to keep Cox's frequently outrageous conduct under control.
However, Young's mother and aunt, who both live in Maine, disputed that characterization. They said Young and Cox, a U.S. Army veteran who had family in Utah, had been partners for five years and got along well.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson previously said authorities don't believe Young's story about Cox tripping over a bicycle and falling onto the knife, and the medical examiner told investigators the fatal wound was not consistent with accidental stabbing.
During a Sept. 13 hearing, Ames sought to keep a number of Young's statements from being used at trial, including everything he told police during four interviews with police.
Murphy ruled that statements Young made to police at his apartment could be used as well as Young's spontaneous remarks to an Augusta patrol officer at the station.
"He discusses the circumstances under which he found David Cox's body, what David Cox was doing before he was stabbed, and also that he was unsure about whether he should talk to patrolman (Paul) Doody about the situation."
The judge suppressed statements Young made once he requested a lawyer about 35 minutes after arriving at the station as well as everything he said during a subsequent four-hour interview with Tupper and Augusta Police Detective Jason Cote that began at 8:10 a.m. the same day.
However, Ames said the those remarks could be used to contradict something Young says on the witness stand if he elects to testify.
The officers read Young his rights before interrogating him. Benson told the judge during the Sept. 13 hearing, however, the detectives were unaware of Young's earlier request for an attorney.
The judge said statements Young made to the same officers in two interviews a month later -- including an interview at his cousin's home in China -- will be admissible at trial. The judge concluded, "Those interviews were noncustodial and sufficient time had elapsed since he was in custody."
Young remains in jail in lieu of bail, which a judge set at $1 million worth of property or $500,000 cash.
Betty Adams -- 621-5631