A fight over stolen cigarettes led to the death of an inmate at the state prison farm in Warren, according to an affidavit filed in court.

The affidavit, filed Feb. 4 in Knox County Superior Court by Maine State Police Detective Joshua Birmingham, stated that witnesses said 34-year-old Zachary Titus had put a choke hold on 28-year-old Dana Bartlett during the altercation last June.

Titus is charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty Feb. 4 and his trial is tentatively scheduled for May 2020.

The autopsy done on Bartlett by the Maine Medical Examiner's Office determined that he died of strangulation, according to the affidavit.

Bartlett was housed at the Bolduc Correctional Facility in a room with three other inmates.

The affidavit stated that Titus had gone to a corrections officer June 24, 2018, and said Bartlett needed help. The officer performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and administered Narcan to Bartlett, as is part of the emergency response not knowing what had occurred. The officer and emergency medical services personnel from Warren and Waldoboro were unable to revive Bartlett.

Titus and the other two roommates were strip-searched and their clothing taken by prison staff immediately after the death occurred. Titus had scratches and bruises on his body, but the other two inmates did not, according to the police report. Staff also seized a wristwatch worn by Titus.

Bartlett had a large scratch under his chin.

A recorded telephone call from earlier in the day revealed that Titus accused Bartlett of stealing cigarettes from one of the other roommates. Titus also said that he and Bartlett had gotten into a fight a few days earlier in which Bartlett punched Titus in the mouth, according to the affidavit.

Investigators reviewed surveillance videos of the hallway where Bartlett, Titus and the other two inmates lived. That showed Bartlett entering the room and then several minutes later the two other roommates left the room. Four minutes later, Titus leaves the room and goes into the bathroom and a red-brown stain can be seen on his T-shirt. He can also been seen looking at his fingernails, according to the affidavit.

One of the other roommates, Joshua Welch, told investigators that when he returned to the room after a smoke break, he saw Bartlett's lifeless body on the floor and Titus told him that Bartlett "just came at me and I choked him out." Welch said as he left the room Titus was trying to wake up Bartlett.

The other roommate, Robert Payzant, told investigators that he witnessed Titus and Bartlett get into a fight and Titus put Bartlett in a sleeper hold. Payzant claimed that when he left the room Bartlett was snoring, according to the affidavit.

Titus told investigators that Payzant choked out Bartlett. Ttitus said he tried to clean up the blood using a towel and a T-shirt.

A DNA test of Titus' watch found blood DNA from Bartlett on it.

Titus is represented by attorney Steven Peterson of Rockport.

At a Feb. 22 hearing, Justice Bruce Mallonee directed that the Maine Attorney General's Office turn over all the evidence it has to the defense within 20 days. The one exception was DNA testing, which will be turned over when laboratory results are completed.

Titus is serving a two-year prison term for felony theft. He began his sentence in March 2018.

Bartlett had been sentenced in March 2018 in Androscoggin Superior Court to 16 months in prison for driving a motor vehicle after his license had been revoked as a habitual offender. He had lived in Lewiston.

Back in August, Jason Palmiter, who was released July 6 after serving nearly nine years in prison for robbery, said he spoke with Bartlett the day he died and that Bartlett had gone to a corrections officer and asked to be moved to another cell because he was being threatened. The other people in his cell had suspected him of stealing some cigarettes, according to Palmiter.

Bartlett then voiced his concern to Palmiter, commenting that the guard did not seem concerned and did nothing, Palmiter said.