AUGUSTA — The sound of a crash roused Michael T. Young from a light, fitful sleep.
Severe anemia and repeated blood testing had drained him. Off and on, he heard the sounds of his roommate and lover, David Cox, working in the other room of their small city apartment.
The noises stopped after the crash, so he went to investigate.
Cox lay on the floor, a knife in his chest. Young called 911 for help, cradling Cox in his arms and removing and possibly throwing the knife, spattering blood.
That’s what Young, 41, told Augusta police and state troopers during sometimes rambling interviews in the days immediately following Cox’s death. Cox died in the apartment shortly after rescue workers arrived on June 11, 2011.
Those new details are laid out in an affidavit by Detective Christopher Tupper of the Maine State Police.
That affidavit was filed Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court as part of the state’s attempt to have a judge order Young held without bail. He is accused of murdering David Cox, a 46-year-old Army veteran.
Justice Michaela Murphy on Thursday refused to abolish Young’s right to bail, and finally set it at $1 million worth of property or $500,000 cash. She also concluded there was probable cause to believe that a homicide had occurred and that Young is responsible, though attorneys noted that the standard for probable cause is low. The bail argument was part of a hearing Thursday morning in Kennebec County Superior Court.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson said Young was covered in blood and the apartment was in disarray when emergency responders and police arrived.
Benson told the judge that authorities did not believe Young’s theory that Cox had tripped over the bicycle he was working on and fell onto the knife.
Tests showed Young’s DNA was on the handle and Cox’s blood on blade, Benson said. He said Cox’s body was found near a wall, 15 to 20 feet from where police believe the stabbing occurred.
“The scene was consistent with there having been a struggle,” Benson said, urging Murphy to conclude that there was probable cause to believe Young committed murder and intended to kill Cox.
The state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Margaret Greenwald, concluded that Cox died of a stab wound to the chest that left a gaping, vertical wound, and was “not consistent with an accidental stabbing,” the affidavit states.
Pam Ames, one of Young’s defense attorneys, argued that the state’s theory is wrong. She said authorities waited 10 months to charge Young with murder, and that they charged him because he was the only other person in the apartment.
“Young was there,” she said. “He called 911. He got put on hold for four minutes while his partner dies in his arms. He’s trying desperately to save this person.”
She disputed Benson’s characterization of Young as a transient, pointing to his mother and his aunt, who were watching from chairs in the back of the small courtroom.
Ames said Young had strong ties to Maine, and had friends in Florida as well as in California.
Young spent time prior to the hearing talking to both Ames and co-counsel Lisa Whittier, but he did not address the judge. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge on April 13.
He ‘has a good heart’
Ames said after Thursday’s hearing that it is unlikely Young will be able to make such a high bail.
“We’d like to have a trial as soon as possible so he can be found not guilty,” Ames said. “He’s innocent.”
Before the hearing, Young’s mother, Faye Blair, of Waldoboro, and his aunt, Arlene Wing, of Rockland, who have been visiting him at the jail where he’s been held since April 13, provided a glimpse into Young’s life.
Young was born in California, grew up in the Rockland area and later attended the Goodwill-Hinckley school for troubled young people in Fairfield, but did not graduate.
If Cox was murdered, they contend, it was by someone else’s hand.
“He tells us he’s not guilty,” Blair said. “He has a good heart. We can’t imagine he’d harm anyone.”
She said she believes Young was in shock when authorities arrested him in Key West, Fla., on April 5 this year.
Wing said Young was sick and in bed during the hours before Cox’s death — the police affidavit quotes Young as saying he suffered from anemia. She said Cox was redoing the walls of the apartment and Young had been seeking medical help all day.
The women said Young and Cox had been a couple for about five years and seemed to get along well. Wing said Cox’s parents, who live in Utah, visited her in Maine and invited her to their home.
By contrast, neighbors of the men previously have said the two argued frequently. The affidavit describes neighbors as telling police that Young told them “how he had done everything to David Cox but shoot him” to keep Cox’s frequently outrageous conduct under control.
Young received Social Security disability payments and also supported himself by doing some odd jobs, the relatives said. Prior to that, he was a cook in a number of restaurants.
Wing, who raised Young from age 4 when his mother was in a bad car crash, said her nephew “has a good heart.”
Betty Adams — 621-5631