AUGUSTA — A woman who slashed the throat of another woman during an argument about going to Walmart pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of elevated aggravated assault.

Quashay Phillips, 25, of Augusta and previously of New York had an attempted murder charge against her dismissed in a plea agreement.

Phillips used a 3- to 4-inch knife to slash the throat of Brooke V. Olum during an argument at the 72 Davenport St. home in Augusta where Phillips was staying, according to an affidavit filed by Augusta Detective Matthew Estes.

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.

“The victim is lucky to be alive,” Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, said Monday.

During an argument Feb. 11, 2019, in which Phillips was angry because Olum had refused to go to Walmart for her, Olum’s boyfriend entered the room and joined the argument, according to court documents, telling Phillips she had to leave and insulting her.

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

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

Phillips pleaded guilty Friday to class A elevated aggravated assault, with serious bodily injury with a dangerous weapon. The attempted murder charge filed against her previously was dismissed as part of a plea agreement reached a weekend before a jury was scheduled to be chosen for her trial.

Maloney noted class A charges, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, are the highest level of felony charges in Maine and the victim of the stabbing supported how the case was resolved.

“I think it is a strong resolution and that Ms. Phillips is taking responsibility for the harm she caused,” Maloney said.

Sentencing for Phillips had yet to be scheduled Monday. Her sentence will be determined by a judge, following arguments from the defense and prosecution, because a sentence on the elevated aggravated assault charge was not part of the plea agreement.

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

That photo lineup was the focus of a motion to suppress filed by Phillips’ lawyer, Andrew Wright. Wright said in the motion and in a Jan. 26 court hearing the photo lineup used by Augusta police was suggestive and included women who did not resemble Phillips, whom he described as skinny and having neck tattoos, in any way other than race and gender.

Wright said the photo lineup included photographs of six African American women, three of whom he described as heavyset. He also said five of them, other than Phillips, were photographed with their necks visible with no tattoos, and Phillips’s photo was also presented in a different format than the others.

Justice William Stokes ruled against Wright’s motion, saying the evidence was admissible.

Stokes wrote in a March 31 decision the state had proven by clear and convincing evidence that witnesses’ photo identifications were reliable, in part because the witnesses previously knew Phillips and had socialized with her for an extended period before the crime.

In February 2019, before Phillips’ arrest, Estes wrote in his affidavit that police did not know Phillips’ location, 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.

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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