The murder trial of a Palmyra man accused in the bludgeoning death of another man in Detroit in 2013 has been delayed until next spring, his lawyer said Friday.

It’s the second postponement in the Somerset County case against Jason Cote, 23, who is charged with killing Ricky Cole in July 2013 in Cole’s mobile home on Main Street.

The trial had been rescheduled for this month in Somerset County Superior Court. Jury selection was set to begin Monday. Cote has pleaded not guilty. He remains in custody at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison, held without bail and awaiting trial.

His lawyer, Philip Mohlar, said that with the recent departure of his law partner, John Alsop, he has had to go back over details of the case, which Alsop had handled, resulting in his request for a delay. Alsop is now a state prosecutor with the Office of the Maine Attorney General.

Mohlar said local attorney John Martin has been added to the case to assist him with Cote’s defense.

The trial originally had been scheduled for May, but objections by Alsop about the state’s delay in delivering evidence from two reports on the case forced a judge to reschedule the trial.


Alsop said in May that the evidence was not given to him until April, just a month before the trial was set to begin. Court documents say the deadline for that the evidence to be provided was last Nov. 30.

Now, Mohlar said, the case has been pushed back again.

“In terms of getting up to speed on the case, the September date just didn’t work anymore. We just needed more time,” Mohlar said. “It just really didn’t work out, so it’s not scheduled again until next spring.”

Cote is charged with the intentional, knowing or depraved indifference murder in Cole’s bludgeoning death. 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 Maine 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 died from blunt force trauma to the head and neck.


Cote entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment Sept. 13, 2013. Lawyers in April failed to reach agreement on a plea deal.

Police said in court documents that Cote already was high on drugs when he arrived at Cole’s home. A day earlier, 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’s body was found hours later.

According to court documents, Cole was found on his back on the living room floor of his mobile home. He had head, neck and facial injuries. Police found blood drops and spatter throughout the residence, from the outdoor deck and front door to the kitchen ceiling, walls, TV, couch and to the ceiling above the spot where Cole lay.

Witnesses later told Maine State Police investigators that the pipe found in a nearby pond was one Cole kept next to his couch.

The blood spatter evidence indicates Cole was struck while he was seated on the couch and then struck again several times while lying on his back where he was found by police, according to investigators.

Police also found tool marks, possibly from the pipe, on a laptop computer and in the ceiling above Cole’s body. Damage to the ceiling tiles “were consistent with at least four strikes from a weapon in motion to the general area of the victim’s head,” according to court documents.


DNA analysis of all the blood samples taken from inside the home determined they were Cole’s. DNA samples taken from Cote’s clothing the day after the murder matched the DNA from Cole’s body.

The case file remains in the hands of Justice William Horton so he can clarify motions filed by Mohlar to suppress all statements made to police after Cote became a suspect. There were three separate interviews with investigators — a portion of the first interview was suppressed — the rest of the interviews were deemed admissible.

Mohlar said Cote has agreed to the delay in the case, noting that his lawyers need more time to mount a good case in his defense.

“His feeling was we needed extra time to be fully prepared to present the best case possible,” Mohlar said. “We wouldn’t want to have a trial if we weren’t fully ready for it. That’s why it got moved back. Otherwise, he’s looking forward to his day in court.”

Cote faces 25 years to life in prison if he is convicted.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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