AUGUSTA — A 28-year-old Mount Vernon man remained behind bars on Tuesday, accused of strangling his girlfriend Saturday in her Patterson Street apartment.

Joel R. Cloutier had an initial court appearance Monday at the Capital Judicial Center via video from the Kennebec County jail. A judge told him he was charged with aggravated assault and set bail at $5,000 cash, with conditions prohibiting Cloutier from having contact with his 23-year-old girlfriend and her grandmother.

The aggravated assault charge carried a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Augusta police Officer Benjamin Murtiff wrote in an affidavit that he was dispatched to investigate a call about a man yelling from a porch roof. Murtiff said when he arrived, a witness said the man had jumped off the roof and fled.

A police dog unit later located Cloutier, who was reported to be highly intoxicated, in a gully between Patterson and Greenleaf streets. The dog bit Cloutier because he refused to follow the police officer’s directions to show his hands, Murtiff wrote.

Murtiff said that the girlfriend told him Cloutier “had gotten aggressive with her in the bedroom and she had told him to leave.”

She said Cloutier punched her in the face and then punched her in the throat as she and her grandmother were trying to get Cloutier down the stairs and out of the residence.

The woman said she collapsed from being hit in the throat and was unable to breathe.

Murtiff wrote that the woman’s throat was swollen, “her voice was raspy and she was spitting up blood.”

Shortly afterward, she said, the women realized Cloutier had broken a window in a bedroom and climbed back into the apartment. The woman’s grandmother told police Cloutier re-entered the apartment twice through the window, and that he was strangling her granddaughter.

The girlfriend told police she knew there was a warrant for her arrest, and she wanted to go to jail because she would be safe there because Cloutier could not get her, Murtiff wrote.

Cloutier and the woman were taken separately to MaineGeneral Medical Center for treatment.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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