A Limington man accused of killing his mother and her boyfriend in June has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and one of arson.

Matthew Cote, seen here at a Zoom court hearing in June, is charged with two counts of murder and starting a house fire in Limington. Megan Gray

Matthew Cote, 21, participated in his arraignment in York County Superior Court via Zoom on Monday. Defense attorney Thomas Connolly said Cote is being held at the Cumberland County Jail, but he will soon be moved to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta for a mental health evaluation that has been ordered by the court.

“It may be determinative of a number of issues,” Connolly said of that evaluation. “We don’t know until it’s done.”

A spokesman for the Maine Attorney General’s Office said the next hearing in the case is a status conference in November.

Cote was arrested in connection with the deaths of Cheryl Cote, 47, and Daniel Perkins, 46. First responders discovered their bodies at a Limington home on June 17 when they responded to an early morning house fire, and police pulled Cote over in his mother’s car later that morning. An affidavit includes evidence in support of the murder charges against Cote, including statements he made during that traffic stop. In the comments included in that document, Cote did not explicitly admit to any involvement in the deaths.

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


Investigators had said they believed the fire was not the cause of death for the couple, and the affidavit indicated 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 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. She also said that police knew he owned firearms, but she did not say how investigators 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 stay in the sunlight, as it would probably be the last sunlight he would see for a while,” the affidavit said.

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