- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (AP) - A Palmyra man who claimed he acted in self-defense in a violent altercation was convicted Thursday of murder in the metal-pipe beating death of another man.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Zainea told jurors that Jason Cote delivered the fatal blow to Ricky Cole as he lay defenseless on the floor of his home in the town of Detroit.

But defense attorney Steve Smith contended the 25-year-old Cote acted in self-defense and feared Cole, who was larger and older, sported an R.I.P. tattoo on his neck and had conversations with an imaginary friend who told him to hurt people.

Somerset County Superior Court jurors delivered the guilty verdict.

Cote told jurors Wednesday that the fight stemmed from an investigation into allegations that Cole illegally possessed guns. He said the 47-year-old Cole became angry and came at him with a knife.

Cole’s body was found in his blood-spattered mobile home July 18, 2013. DNA samples taken from Cote’s clothing the day after the killing matched the DNA from Cole’s blood.

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