By RUSS OLIVO
WOONSOCKET – As she pressed her hands down on her boyfriend’s bloody chest wound, Jennifer Cole was sobbing and yelling about “some guy” who stabbed him and ran off, police say.
From a bed at Rhode Island Hospital, the 24-year-old victim parroted Cole’s account of events, insisting that a mysterious stranger was responsible for causing his injuries.
A trail of blood evidence undercut the couple’s story, however, and led to the arrest of Cole for stabbing her boyfriend 100 yards from where he lay bleeding on the sidewalk Saturday – in the kitchen of her apartment at 272 Arnold St.
Cole, 31, is facing one count of domestic felony assault with a dangerous weapon, a small kitchen knife.
She’s free on $2,500 surety bail after a preliminary appearance Monday in Sixth District Court, Providence.
Shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, police, responding to a report of an assault, located Cole and her boyfriend at the corner of Railroad and Arnold streets.
Semi-conscious, his shirt and pants soaked with blood, the victim was suffering what appeared to be a single stab wound on the left side of his chest.
The victim was clutching Cole by the wrist as she repeatedly yelled about a stranger who stabbed him and ran off. She said the stabbing happened when she and her boyfriend were arguing and “an unknown male stepped in to help her out,” according to reports.
“She began to say over and over that she was sorry they were fighting,” Sgt. Matthew Oliver said.
As police began following the blood trail behind the victim, however, they soon realized that Cole’s story didn’t add up. The trail led to the kitchen of Cole’s first-floor apartment, where they found a serrated paring knife on the floor lying next to a large pool of blood. Police also found a clump of hair on the floor nearby.
Cole told police her boyfriend had struck her in the head, but she continued to insist – at first anyway – that someone else had stabbed him. After police informed her that she was to be detained for questioning and they were escorting her to a cruiser, she finally admitted, “Okay there was no other guy. We were fighting and I grabbed....” the sergeant reported.
Oliver said he interrupted Cole to advise her of her Miranda rights before she volunteered any further information. “You’re right,” she allegedly replied, “I should stop talking right now.”
At the hospital, when police asked the victim what happened, he told Detective Anthony Conetta Jr. that “his girlfriend has children and he did not want to say anything that would get her in trouble.”
One time, the victim answered “yes” when he was asked if Cole had stabbed him, but he repeatedly walked back the story. His official version was that “an unknown male subject had stabbed him,” but he was unable to provide police with any details.
Conetta explained to the victim that it was vital to say what really happened, but the victim “stated that he didn’t want to say anything that would get his girlfriend in trouble and he apologized, then continued on with a male subject, unknown to him (that) stabbed him.”
“At this point in the investigation, there was enough probable cause to believe...Jennifer Cole had stabbed him,” Conetta concluded.
Deputy Police Chief Michael Lemoine said the victim was admitted to the hospital in stable condition Saturday night. Lemoine said the victim’s wounds were serious, but not life-threatening.
Cole is due back in court for another hearing on Aug. 13.
In the meantime, Judge Stephen M. Isherwood ordered her to keep away from her boyfriend.
Follow Russ Olivo on Twitter @russolivo