Wednesday, May 22, 2013
By Betty Adams email@example.com
AUGUSTA — A jury on Friday cleared Albe Lagasse of two counts of aggravated assault in the stabbing last April of two men outside a tavern in Waterville’s South End.
Lagasse, 45, of Bangor spent three days on trial this week in Kennebec County Superior Court. He was found not guilty on both counts shortly after 3 p.m. Friday.
One of the men listed as a victim of the aggravated assault, Carl A. Hunter refused to testify at the trial.
The prosecutor maintained Lagasse used a knife — which he allegedly showed the bartender prior to leaving the bar — to cut up the two men April 26.
Waterville police followed a trail of blood from the scene outside the bar to an apartment on nearby Sherwin Street, where they found Hunter with wounds to his chest, including one that doctors said had punctured his lung. Michael Dicent was found with a deep cut on his elbow and a number of wounds to his groin area. The men were treated at area hospitals.
Lagasse himself testified early Friday, saying three men in The Chez Paree on Water Street began verbally abusing him and then Patrick Currie shoved him to the ground.
That shove, which landed Lagasse on his rear, was clearly visible on a black-and-white security camera video which was played for the jury.
“It felt like I got hit with a ton of bricks; he’s a big boy,” Lagasse said in response to a question from the prosecutor. Lagasse said his thoughts after that were to get away, and he described his actions as they took place on the video.
He said he had picked up a beer bottle and held it in his right hand just prior to the shove. “In case three people jumped me, I wanted something to defend myself,” he said.
After getting up from the floor, Lagasse can be seen placing the bottle back on the bar.
“I put my gloves on ‘cause I wanted to leave,” Lagasse testified. “I was turning around to tell (Currie) I don’t want no (expletive) problems.”
Lagasse said he was concerned because he had ridden to Waterville on a borrowed Harley-Davidson motorcycle, parked outside, and he didn’t want anyone damaging it.
Lagasse had been standing at the bar with a woman; the two had arrived at the Chez separately after being at the Bob-In, another bar several blocks away.
Lagasse said once the altercation took place inside, the bartender at the Chez told everyone to leave, and first he tried to exit via the door to the smoking deck. But it was locked, so he went out the main door.
There, he said people hit him from both sides.
“It blew me right off my feet right to the roadside,” he said.
Lagasse said the beating, punching and kicking continued until he passed out. “I didn’t throw one punch, not a single swing.” He also denied having a knife.
When he came to, he said he thought about leaving on the motorcycle.
“I couldn’t move,” he said.
Police found him curled up on some stairs in an alley outside the bar and took him to the police department for questioning.
There, they photographed his head, hands, jeans and boots and then arrested him on a warrant for failure to appear on a theft by deception charge. “It’s a picture of my head pretty banged up,” Lagasse said as he identified the photos from the witness stand.
Lagasse told jurors that he had a theft conviction. He did not testify about a 2006 conviction for aggravated assault and assault in Bangor Superior Court for which he spent three years in prison.
Betty Adams — 621-5631