A close relative of a Rochester native killed two years ago in Detroit, Maine, said defense lawyers for the man accused in the killing are barking up the wrong tree if they think a New Hampshire manslaughter conviction almost 25 years ago helps paint the victim as a violent man.
Prosecutors say Ricky Cole, 47, died of blunt force trauma at the hands of Palmyra resident Jason Cote, 25, on July 17, 2013.
Defense lawyers are trying to suggest that Cole had a violent past, and that Cote may have had reason to fear for his life during a confrontation the night of his death.
To back up their assertion lawyers produced information that indicated Cole had been convicted of manslaughter in New Hampshire.
|Jason Cote (Police photo)|
New Hampshire court records show Cole had two arrests for manslaughter: one in August 1991, and the other in July 1992, but the family member said there was, in fact, only one manslaughter charge, in August 1991.
"Him and another guy in the car with him were drag racing another car in Barrington, and there was an accident," the family member who didn't want to be identified told The Lebanon Voice on Tuesday. "The other guy was killed. Ricky was given a seven-year sentence and served five years."
Defense lawyers for Cote, meanwhile, said last week they were having some difficulty getting the New Hampshire records.
Court affidavits state Cote was high and seeking drugs when he went to Cole's home in Detroit the night of the killing.
Cote is accused of using a pipe in the attack on Cole, who moved from Rochester to Central Maine about 12 years ago.
The trial will be held next month in Samoset County Superior Court.
A conviction would net Cote a 25 year to life sentence in a Maine prison.