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Defense secretary’s brother exonerated in shooting; 3 charged

February 28, 1997

BANGOR, Maine (AP) _ Defense Secretary William Cohen’s brother was defending himself against an armed robber when he shot the man in his home, authorities said today. They announced charges against the wounded man and two others.

District Attorney Christopher Almy said the three defendants had been taken into custody and no charges were contemplated against Robert Cohen. Almy said an investigation had produced ``no basis″ for charging Defense Secretary William Cohen’s brother.

Cohen, 51, was cut twice with a knife during Tuesday night’s struggle with Michael Chasse, authorities said.

Chasse, 22, was released today from Eastern Maine Medical Center, where he had been treated for what police said were several wounds. Besides robbery and conspiracy, he was charged with aggravated assault and burglary.

Almy said John Pettegrow Jr., 18, of Bangor, and Kim Snow, 16, of Ellsworth were also charged with robbery and conspiracy.

In an affidavit, Detective David Clewley said a witness told police she overheard the trio on the day of the shooting talking about going to rob Cohen.

The witness said that about 90 minutes after the three left, Pettegrow and Snow returned, saying Chasse had been shot by Cohen and might be dead.

Pettegrow eventually admitted being involved, the affidavit said, telling the detective that he and Chasse went to Cohen’s door and were met with Cohen with a gun in his hand. Chasse tried to knock the gun out of Cohen’s hand and then forced his way in and was shot, the affidavit said.

In the same affidavit, the detective said Cohen told him Chasse forced his way in and cut Cohen with a knife, and Cohen shot him with a .22-caliber handgun.

``Cohen retreated back up the stairs and stated that Chasse followed him and cut him a second time with the knife, and Cohen shot at Chasse again, at which point Chasse collapsed and fell down the stairs into the basement of the house,″ Clewley said.

Almy said initial court appearances for the three defendants were pending.

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