AUGUSTA — A woman accused of slicing another woman’s throat during an argument last year pleaded not guilty Wednesday to attempted murder and elevated aggravated assault.

Quashay Phillips

Quashay Phillips, 24, of Augusta entered her pleas to the felony charges, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, after a mental health evaluation determined she was competent to proceed in the legal process, according to Justice Michaela Murphy.

Police said in an affidavit they believe Phillips was working with gangs based in New York City to distribute narcotics in central Maine.

The Feb. 11, 2019, incident took place at 72 Davenport St. in Augusta, where Phillips was staying at the time, according to police.

Phillips allegedly used a 3- to 4-inch knife to slash the throat of Brooke V. Olum during an argument at the home, according to an affidavit filed by Augusta Detective Matthew Estes.

Phillips was reportedly angry at Olum because she refused to go to Walmart.

During the argument, Olum’s boyfriend entered the room and joined in the argument, telling Phillips she had to leave and insulting her, according to court documents.

Olum then pushed him out of the room, police said. When Olum turned around, Phillips “sliced her neck,” causing Olum to scream and begin bleeding profusely.

Other occupants of the home came to Olum’s aid, placing towels on her neck and driving her to the hospital.

While police were interviewing Olum at the hospital, a surgeon said her external jugular vein was severed but the cut missed her carotid artery by a couple of millimeters.

A severed carotid artery would have likely been a fatal injury, according to Estes’ affidavit.

Murphy said a second mental health evaluation will be performed on Phillips, with the results also made available to Phillips’ defense lawyers. The judge said Wednesday the initial evaluation indicated “at this time (Phillips) is competent to proceed.”

Phillips, who has remained in jail on $100,000 cash bail, was arraigned Wednesday. Her next hearing is scheduled for April 28.

Witnesses at the home at the time of the alleged attack said they did not see Phillips cut Olum, but one woman said she saw Phillips pull the knife away. In addition, a man who was at the house said he saw Phillips holding the knife and trying to clean it after the victim was cut.

Police searched the home and found blood splatter and blood droplets on the floor and a wall in the middle bedroom.

The victim and one witness, who both said they know Phillips as “QP” and that she is from New York, identified her as the suspect in a photo lineup, according to police.

In February 2019, Estes wrote in his affidavit that police did not know where Phillips was, but it was likely she was attempting to return to New York.

He also wrote police were aware Phillips was working with gangs operating out of New York City to distribute narcotics in central Maine, where there had been an influx of two gangs — the Chico Gang and the Flowboyz — in the Augusta area over the past two years.

Phillips was later arrested in Schenectady, New York, according to court documents. She was then extradited to Maine to face charges.

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