BANGOR – Members of the Bangor homeless community took the stand on Wednesday to testify about what they say happened in the hours before two other transients were killed by arson underneath the Penobscot Bridge.
Eugene “Geno” Cox was on the stand most of Wednesday morning in the double murder and arson trial of John De St. Croix, 26. Investigators say De St. Croix set fire to a van that Michael “Georgia” Bridges, 43, and Desiree York, 36, were sleeping in on March 28, 2018, causing their deaths.
Cox, who now is a patient at Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center, testified that “they said they were going to some truck. John said they had a good place to sleep.”
Cox told jurors that he fell asleep underneath the bridge and woke up to the smell of smoke.
“I heard pounding. I saw the tire burning,” he said. “I couldn’t get near it. I couldn’t get near it. It was so hot.”
WVII/WFVX spoke to Cox in the hours after the double homicide. Here is what he said a year ago.
“This other kid said he found a place to sleep in the back of some truck, so they left,” Cox said, standing behind the Penobscot Plaza. “And about five minutes later I smelled smoke. I see smoke. I got up because I couldn’t take the smoke and I walked by and seen the tire on the truck burning. This other kid said he already called the ambulance. He said there is two people still in that truck.”
Was he the one who told Georgia and Desiree that it was open, WVII/WXFV asked.
“Yea,” Cox said. “He’s the one who checked it out. He said, ‘It was open. Come back.’”
“She didn’t want to go at first because they were arguing back and forth, and everything,” Cox said of York and Bridges. “They made up and finally, she was cold so they just go in and it was the last time I seen them.”
On Tuesday, Bangor police Officer Jamie Fanning testified she met Cox leaving the scene carrying a sleeping bag and his shoes. She said she knew him through prior interactions and let him go after getting some basic information. Police investigators interviewed him two other times that day.
The defense questioned the criminal backgrounds of Cox and another homeless man who testified earlier in the day.
The trial is scheduled to conclude on Monday.