AUBURN — The trial of a Lewiston man charged with stabbing his girlfriend in a fit of anger has started.

Cleveland Cruthirds faces attempted murder and other charges in connection with the December 2011 attack on Naomi Swift.

Authorities say the 27-year-old Cruthirds stabbed Swift because he was angry she had talked to her imprisoned husband on the phone and had been in touch with an ex-boyfriend online.

The Sun Journal reports that the prosecutor said Tuesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court that Cruthirds broke into Swift’s apartment and stabbed her 21 times in the hands, arm, chest, face and head.

Swift spent six days in the hospital and suffered permanent nerve damage and deafness in one ear.

The defense said Cruthirds was not in Swift’s apartment when she was attacked.