AUGUSTA — A judge set bail Friday at $500,000 cash or $1 million worth of property in a stabbing case in which the victim is listed in critical condition.

Kevin N. Coutu, 25, of Waterville, is accused of stabbing another man Tuesday in Waterville in what a prosecutor described as “a drug rip-off.”

Coutu made an initial court appearance at the Capital Judicial Center via video from the Kennebec County jail.

He appeared anxious to get out of jail, asking one of the lawyers of the day, “Is there any plea deal at all from the state?”

Justice Robert Mullen told him he could not accept a plea at this point since the charges were serious and a grand jury had not returned an indictment.

Mullen said he was entering “no plea” on Coutu’s behalf to charges of elevated aggravated assault, which has a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, and robbery, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, as well as a charge of violation of condition of release, which carries up to six months in prison.

Mullen also said the bail amount could be reviewed once an attorney is appointed to represent Coutu.

The high bail was requested by the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Tyler LeClair.

LeClair said Coutu arranged a meeting to buy drugs, and produced a knife, stabbing the other man once in the neck and twice in the stomach. He said that as of 11 a.m. Friday, the victim remained on a ventilator in the critical care unit at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta.

“They are uncertain as to whether he is going to survive,” Leclair told the judge. “These are extremely serious injuries.”

Leclair said a high bail would ensure public safety, adding that after the stabbing, Coutu reportedly told someone he slit a man’s throat.

Leclair quoted from an affidavit by Waterville police Detective David Caron, in which a woman told police that Coutu said, “I made that neck like a smile; I put it from ear to ear.”

The victim was in a vehicle and drove away from the scene, reportedly running over Coutu’s legs in the process. No injuries to Coutu were visible on the television monitor in the courtroom.

Caron’s affidavit says Coutu told police he was buying marijuana from the victim near Silver Place and when Coutu handed over his $15 for marijuana, the vehicle started to drive off.

Caron said he found a folding knife with its blade extended on the floor of the vehicle the victim had been driving, which police located in the parking lot of the Augusta hospital. Caron also reported finding a small plastic bag containing crack cocaine on floor of the vehicle.

Deborah Clement, 31, of Waterville, a woman who had been in the vehicle with the victim, was arrested as well. She was charged with failing to appear at court on two charges of operating after suspension Sept. 24 and Nov. 9, 2016, in Waterville.

On Friday, the judge set her bail at $200 with conditions prohibiting her from use and possession of alcohol and illegal drugs.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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