November 14, 2013

Deadlines approaching for Palmyra man’s murder trial

Jason C. Cote, Palmyra, is charged with murder in the death of Ricky B. Cole, Detroit, on July 17.

By Doug Harlow
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN — State prosecutors have until the end of the month to produce pre-trial discovery information to lawyers representing Jason C. Cote, of Palmyra, who is charged with murder in the death of a Detroit man this summer.

click image to enlarge

ACCUSED: Jason C. Cote, 22, of Hurd’s Corner Road.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

ACCUSED: Jason C. Cote, 22, of Hurd’s Corner Road,.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Additional Photos Below

A scheduling order issued Nov. 5 in Somerset County Superior Court gives both parties in the case until Dec. 31 to file their final motions for a projected trial date of May 19.

Cote, 22, is charged with the intentional, knowing or depraved indifference murder of Ricky B. Cole on July 17, according to a grand jury indictment in September.

Cote is alleged to have beaten Cole, 47, with a pipe in a mobile home Cole rented on Main Street in Detroit.

Detectives with the State Police Major Crimes Unit found Cole dead in the blood-spattered mobile home.

Cole had a fractured skull, extensive blood loss and deep internal injuries, according to the autopsy report. The state medical examiner’s office concluded that Cole had died from blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

The state Office of Attorney General went forward with a formal charge against Cote after the indictment. Cote entered a plea of not guilty during his arraignment Sept. 13.

Assistant Attorney General Lean Zainea is the lead prosecutor in the case. Cote is represented by defense attorneys Philip Mohlar and John Alsop, of Skowhegan.

A deadline of March 15 also was set on the schedule for Cote and his lawyers to produce to the state any reports from potential experts they plan to call as witnesses at trial. Both parties have until May 1 to file witness lists, exhibit lists to be presented at trial and any motions to exclude evidence claimed to be objectionable by either party until a judge determines the evidence is admissible.

Cote was arrested July 24 at his grandmother’s house in St. Albans and has been held without bail since then at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison.

When police interviewed Cote on July 18 at a friend’s home in Palmyra, they saw he had recent cuts and bruises on his forearm, back, leg and face, according to court documents. He told them he had nothing to do with Cole’s death.

DNA on clothing found under Cote’s home on Hurd’s Corner Road in Palmyra matched DNA from an oral swab taken from Cote and from blood taken during Cole’s autopsy, court documents show.

On July 17, Cote snorted methadone and Xanax at the friend’s home on Dogtown Road in Palmyra, according to the court affidavit. He later was dropped off at Cole’s residence, allegedly to get more drugs. Cole was found hours later dead from blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Police said in court documents that Cote already was high on drugs when he arrived at Cole’s home.

Cote has a short history of misdemeanor convictions for theft, forgery and failing to appear. A conviction on a murder charge carries a sentence of 25 years to life.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367 Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Defense: Phil Mohlar, center, attorney for Jason C. Cote, 22.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

ACCUSED: Jason C. Cote, 22, of Hurd’s Corner Road.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans


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