Matthew Cote told police that he “snapped” on the day investigators found his mother and her boyfriend dead in her Limington home, according to an affidavit.

Matthew Cote at a Zoom court hearing Friday, charged with two counts of murder and starting a house fire in Limington. Photo by Megan Gray

Cote, 21, has been held without bail at the York County Jail since last week. He is charged with murder in the deaths of Cheryl Cote, 47, and Daniel Perkins, 46. A Superior Court judge has ordered a mental health evaluation. Cote has not yet entered a plea, and the case still needs to go to a grand jury for indictment.

Police pulled Cote over in his mother’s car Thursday after investigators responded to an early morning house fire where firefighters had discovered the couple’s bodies. The affidavit includes evidence in support of the murder charges against Cote, including statements he made during that traffic stop.

“Once I snapped, I couldn’t stop,” Cote told police, according to the affidavit.

In the comments included in the affidavit, Cote did not explicitly admit to any involvement in the deaths. That document, obtained by the Press Herald, includes details previously released to the public and new information about the case.

Investigators have said they believed the fire was not the cause of death for the couple, and the affidavit indicates that both suffered apparent gunshot wounds. Detective Lauren Edstrom of the Maine State Police wrote in that document that a neighbor heard gunshots from the house between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. The affidavit also describes evidence found inside the home: a red plastic container like those used for gasoline and rifle shell casings.

Edstrom wrote that she learned Matthew Cote lived at the house and was not accounted for.

“It was known that he owned firearms,” she wrote, although she did not explain how police gathered that information.

State police issued an alert to be on the lookout for Matthew Cote, and the traffic stop took place a short while later near the home. He was driving a Chevrolet Trailblazer that was registered to his mother. As the officers approached Cote, he said he “knew this was coming,” according to the affidavit.

“When asked if he wanted to move out of the direct sunlight that he was standing in, Matthew advised that he wanted to say in the sunlight, as it would probably be the last sunlight he would see for a while,” the affidavit said.

Detectives later interviewed Cote, although it was not clear how long they spoke or how much was said. When Edstrom asked Cote during that conversation if he knew why he was in handcuffs, he responded, “Ahhh, I would guess manslaughter,” according to the affidavit.

Two people who knew the Cote family spoke to the Press Herald last week. Both described a close relationship between mother and son, and they said Matthew Cote had struggled with mental illness. Cheryl Cote also has an adult daughter and three grandchildren.

Shelly Grose, a friend of Cheryl Cote’s, last week called her “one of the best people” she has ever known – nurturing, loving, kind, a good mother, rooted in her faith.

“Nobody deserves to die that way but especially not her,” Grose said.

The affidavit had been impounded, and the Maine Attorney General’s Office objected to the decision to publish its contents.

Defense attorney Thomas Connolly said he would not respond to details included in the affidavit.

“The right of a criminal defendant not to be prejudiced by unfair pretrial publicity carries through the entire case,” Connolly said.

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