SKOWHEGAN — A jury of 12 men and four women, including four alternates, was selected Wednesday from a pool of 200 in the murder trial of Jason Cote of Palmyra.

Cote, 24, has pleaded not guilty in the July 2013 beating death of Ricky Cole at Cole’s mobile home in Detroit.

Prospective jurors in Somerset County Superior Court were asked whether they were aware of the case and if they were involved in drug or alcohol abuse groups. Testimony on drug use is expected during the trial.

Cote is charged with the intentional, knowing or depraved indifference murder of Cole in Cole’s mobile home on Main Street in Detroit. Cote allegedly beat Cole, 47, with a pipe. A conviction on a murder charge carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Police say Cote snorted methadone and Xanax on July 17, 2013, at a friend’s home on Dogtown Road in Palmyra before he was dropped off at Cole’s residence to get more drugs.

Cole was found bludgeoned to death about 3 a.m. July 18, 2013. He had a fractured skull, extensive blood loss and internal injuries, according to the autopsy.

When police interviewed Cote on the morning of July 18 at a friend’s home in Palmyra, they saw he had recent cuts and bruises on his forearm, back, leg and face, according to court documents. He told them he had nothing to do with Cole’s death.

DNA on clothing found under Cote’s home on Hurd’s Corner Road in Palmyra matched DNA from blood taken during Cole’s autopsy, court documents show.

The trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday with opening statements from prosecution and defense attorneys. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Leanne Zainea. The defense attorney is Stephen Smith, of Lipman & Katz of Augusta.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

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