Suspect claims self-defense

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LEWISTON – Miguel Martinez told police he stabbed another man in self-defense Friday night after an exchange of words on College Street, according to an affidavit released on Monday.

One witness reported Martinez, 24, had been yelling and laughing by himself in the minutes leading to the 10:35 p.m. knifing at 10 College St.

The victim of the attack, 27-year-old Jeffrey McKenzie, was stabbed in the heart during the attack. He remained in critical condition through the weekend. On Monday, his family asked that no further information about his condition be released.

According to the police affidavit, McKenzie’s heart was cut by a knife, causing him to bleed profusely before paramedics and police arrived.

Martinez, charged with elevated aggravated assault in the knifing, was returned to jail Monday after an initial court appearance in 8th District Court. His bail was raised to $10,000.

Police who arrested Martinez in an apartment house near the scene of the attack later found a knife concealed within a picture frame. Martinez admitted stashing the knife in the frame before running to another apartment and hiding under a blanket, where he was eventually caught.

In an interview with a police detective, Martinez said he had tried stabbing McKenzie in the arm after the man chased him into an apartment house hallway at 10 College St. Martinez told police the incident began when he was confronted by McKenzie and two other men while sitting on the sidewalk on College Street Friday night.

“Martinez stated that one of the males had a bottle with him and told him that he was going to” kill Martinez, Detective Brian O’Malley wrote in the affidavit.

Martinez told police McKenzie chased him around a car three times before Martinez fled into a hallway at 10 College St.

“He then held the door shut and this male tried kicking and pushing the door open. Martinez stated that (McKenzie) was able to get the door partially open and put his arm in and was swinging the bottle at him,” O’Malley wrote. “Martinez stated that he then took his knife out of his pocket and tried to stab (McKenzie) in the arm. Martinez stated that he missed and believed that he stabbed (him) in the chest or stomach.”

Friends of McKenzie said he stumbled back from the porch, lifted his shirt to reveal he had been stabbed, and then collapsed to the ground in front of an apartment building at 18 College St.

Police Officer Ryan Guay tended to the victim at the scene while waiting for backup to arrive. Police said Martinez fled to an apartment at 10 College St., told a woman there that he had stabbed someone, and then hid the knife in a picture frame hanging on the wall. Martinez then fled that apartment through the back door, police said.

When asked why he had hidden the knife: “Martinez stated that he was afraid that the knife would be used against him as evidence in a homicide,” according to the affidavit.

Police said Martinez, also known to use the name Eric Scott Hill, has no known address. He lists former addresses on Sabattus Street and on Shawmut Street but his current residence was unknown at the time of his arrest.

While officers searched for the suspect at 10 College St. Friday night, two of McKenzie’s friends were arrested after they allegedly remained in front of the building after being told to move away. Others were issued summonses for obstructing the police investigation.

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