Michael Barrucci speaks with his lawyer, Heidi Pushard, during his initial appearance at 8th District Court in Lewiston on Friday on a charge of elevated aggravated assault. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — A man who suffered severe stab wounds at a downtown barbershop earlier this week claimed his estranged wife “set me up.”

Rashad Robinson, 35, told a paramedic that Nicole Robinson, from whom he was separated, knew he was at Major Cuts barbershop at 79 Chestnut St. shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday.

She arrived at the shop with her new boyfriend, Michael Barrucci, 23, of Otisfield, who was later arrested on a charge of elevated aggravated assault, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. He appeared in 8th District Court on Friday where a judge set his bail at $200,000 cash or $400,000 real estate.

Rashad Robinson told Maine State Police Detective Christopher Farley, who wrote an affidavit in support of a Barrucci’s arrest warrant, that his estranged wife had been jealous and, “Mike is the one who stabbed me.”

When local police officer Zachary Provost responded to the scene of a reported stabbing at the barbershop, he found a man lying on his back at the entrance to the barbershop, a large laceration in his chest and a large pool of blood near his abdomen, Farley wrote in his affidavit.

When the officer peered inside the shop, Barrucci, covered in blood, was standing holding a brown folding knife. Provost ordered Barrucci to drop the knife, which he did.

He was shouting into a cellphone: “I was trying to kill the f—er!” and, “I tried to cut his f—ing head off!”

A barber at the shop said he was cutting the victim’s hair when Barrucci and Nicole Robinson walked in. Rashad Robinson climbed out of the chair and approached the couple. As they began to argue, Barrucci pulled a folding knife from under his sweatshirt and opened it.

According to the affidavit, Barrucci and Robinson started fighting. The barber could see Robinson’s internal organs exposed from injuries sustained in the fight, the barber told police.

Another barber at the shop, Sakariye Hersi, 29, told police that Barrucci and Robinson began fighting on their feet, then on the floor, where he could see a “significant amount” of blood. When the fight was over, Hersi saw Barrucci holding a knife.

Nicole Robinson told a police detective that she had talked to her estranged husband earlier in the day on Wednesday, but had since blocked his number from her phone. She said she and Barrucci had tried to avoid seeing her estranged husband and had called the barbershop to try to make an appointment and were told they would have to arrive before 5:30 p.m.

While they sat in the shop, Rashad Robinson had approached them. She tried to intervene when the men started to fight. She sustained a cut on her arm in her efforts. After the fight, she called 911 and her father, she said, and took the knife from Barrucci before police arrived in a conflicting account from Officer Provost.

Police learned that Rashad Robinson had been sending text messages from the shop to a woman to tell her he would be outside the shop in a “few more minutes” and that he knew his estranged wife was in the shop.

A day after the stabbing, Robinson told Farley at Central Maine Medical Center’s intensive care unit that he had thought it odd that his estranged wife would show up at the shop at the same time he was there getting his hair cut.

After the fight with Barrucci, when Robinson was lying on the ground holding his stomach, Barrucci walked out of the shop, looked at him and said: “I hope you f—ing die.”

A hospital nurse detailed Robinson’s stabs wounds to include two to his back; one across his chest; one in his stomach area; and one under each arm pit (one of those struck an artery.) Also during the fight, his spleen and diaphragm had been damaged, according to the affidavit.

Assistant District Attorney Claire Andrews asked Judge Rick Lawrence on Friday to keep Barrucci’s bail at $500,000.

Rashad Robinson is still hospitalized, “not doing well,” she said. “We’re not sure how this will turn out in the end.”

The Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit was called to the scene because of the large loss of blood and life-threatening injuries to the victim.

Defense attorney Heidi Pushard said Barrucci had been accosted by Robinson, who struck him and had him in a headlock. Barrucci pulled out a knife in an effort to defend himself, Pushard said.

Andrews characterized that as a “very far stretch,” given Barrucci’s statements and the severity of the victim’s wounds.

Pushard suggested bail be set at $1,000 with supervision and that Barrucci be allowed to live with his grandmother at her Otisfield home. He graduated from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and has no criminal history, she said.

Andrews asked that Barrucci be barred from contact with the victim and Nicole Robinson as well as witnesses in the case. Pushard argued that Barrucci be allowed to have contact with Nicole Robinson, a victim who was injured in the fight and who requested she be able to communicate with him.

But Andrews argued that Nicole Robinson may end up being charged in the case and in an effort to ensure “integrity for the judicial process, there should be absolutely no contact.”

Lawrence barred Barrucci from having any contact with both Robinsons and witnesses named by Andrews and from being at the barbershop. Barrucci may not have any dangerous weapons, including knives, and may be searched at random for them.

Barrucci will be allowed to argue for different bail terms with his court-appointed attorney, Adam Sherman, Lawrence said.

Barrucci remained behind bars at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn on Friday night.

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