CHINA — A single stab wound to the chest killed a local man Friday night, investigators said Monday.

James Dodge, 38, died at his home as a result of a homicide, said Mark Belserene of the State Medical Examiner’s office. Over the weekend, police would only say Dodge’s death was considered suspicious and did not specify how it happened.

Meanwhile, a review of published reports shows that Dodge had been stabbed 13 years ago. There were conflicting accounts of what happened. In addition, a year and a half before that, Dodge’s father was beaten into a coma by two attackers inside Dodge’s Waterville apartment.

Belserene declined Monday to release additional details about the Friday night stabbing. Maine Department of Public Safety Spokesman Steve McCausland said he didn’t know what Dodge was stabbed with.

Three other people were in the home at the time and have cooperated with investigators, police said.

“We are still working on exactly the sequence of events that took place inside that home,” McCausland said Monday.

A homicide is a determination that the death occurred as a result of another person’s actions, but is not necessarily an indication that a crime occurred.

“The goal is to figure out what happened and figure out the circumstances,” said Lt. Christopher Coleman.

Coleman said troopers responded to a 911 call from the home at 324 Hanson Road at 9:05 p.m. Those troopers then called in the major crimes unit. Dodge was taken by ambulance to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, where he died.

On Saturday, the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit van was parked in the dirt driveway near a red Ford Escort wagon. All four doors were open on the compact car, and there was a small pile of blue beer cans near the driveway, next to a pile of lumber.

Records in the Kennebec County Registry of Deeds indicate the home is owned by Rebecca Bragg, and police and others said she is Dodge’s girlfriend.

According to Kennebec Journal archives, Dodge had been in court for misdemeanor offenses over the past few years, most recently in May.

Published reports also say that Dodge may have been stabbed at least once before. Police in August 1999 found Dodge passed out on a bed and bleeding in a third-floor apartment on Halifax Street in Winslow, according to Kennebec Journal archives.

Dodge, who had been cut in the left arm, said he had fallen on a pair of scissors.

But Sherry Gagne, Dodge’s girlfriend at the time, called police and said she stabbed Dodge once in the upper arm with a steak knife out of fear that Dodge was going to hurt her. Police at the time said Gagne had bumps and bruises on her arm where Dodge allegedly grabbed her. It doesn’t appear charges were ever filed in the case.

The 1999 stabbing occurred about 18 months after Dodge’s father, Michael Copage, was beaten into a coma inside Dodge’s Waterville apartment. The attackers, using a sledge hammer and the broken pieces of a rocking chair, broke every bone in Copage’s face and left him confined to a nursing home. Two men were later convicted and sentenced in connection with that attack.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

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