BANGOR, Maine — A Virginia man Thursday told a Superior Court justice that he thought he was being attacked by terrorists when two masked men with a hammer and bat burst into his motel room in April looking for drugs in the wrong room.
“I thought I had put the war behind me,” William Chan, who worked for three years in a “private military” firm in Iraq, said at his attackers’ sentencing, “but when they came through the door with those face masks on, I thought they were going to kill me.”
It took 13 stitches to sew up the head gash that his attackers inflicted on April 17 at the Riverview Motel, he said.
“I wake up every day, look in the mirror and see the scars of what they did to me,” Chan, 37 of Virginia Beach, Va., told the judge. “I want them to get what they deserve. I didn’t deserve what I got.”
Christopher Brown, 32, of Brewer was sentenced in Penobscot County Superior Court to 20 years in prison with all but 13 suspended and Edward Record, 31, of Bucksport was sentenced to 18 years with all but 12 suspended on charges of robbery, aggravated assault and burglary.
The men pleaded guilty earlier this year to the charges in plea agreements with prosecutors.
Brown and Record faced up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $50,000 on the robbery charge alone.
Because Brown was on bail for the drug charges when the attack occurred he was ordered to serve a longer sentence, Justice John Nivison said Thursday.
The Bangor Daily News does not routinely identify victims but Chan spoke to a reporter the day after the attack in April. An anonymous tip led police to Brown and Record, who have been held without bail in the Penobscot County Jail since their arrests in June.
The defendants admitted that they were looking for drugs from a dealer they believed was staying in the same motel where Chan was living while working on the natural gas pipeline in Brewer. Both have a history of drug abuse, according to information presented in court Thursday.
Both defendants, dressed in suits, shirts and ties, turned their backs to the judge and apologized directly to their victim, who was sitting in the courtroom with his wife and two of their children. Brown and Record broke down as they spoke.
“I want to start by saying I’m sorry,” Brown said. “If I could go back in time and take this back, I would. I look at you and your family and I know that I may never have that. I can’t take it back. I deserve what I get.”
When it came time for Record’s sentencing, Chan told the judge that he felt he deserved a longer sentence than Brown did. Record inflicted the wounds that left the scars, the victim said. In the fight, Chan pulled the ski mask off his attacker’s head.
“Mr. Record here is the one individual I will never forget,” he told Nivison. “He said things to me that made me think they were terrorists. … The look he had on his face was the same look I’d seen of the faces of the people in Iraq.”
The defendants’ parents, Terry Lee James and Donna and Edward Record, apologized to Chan for their sons’ actions.
“We are deeply disappointed and ashamed of his actions,” Donna Record said. “Again, my deepest apologies for everything you went through.”
Edward Record also directly addressed Chan, weeping as he did so.
“I never meant to hurt you,” he said. “I’m sorry and I pray you can forgive me someday.”
Chan, who earlier this week drove from the Midwest to Virginia to pick up his wife, and then to Maine, told the judge that he wanted to be at the sentencing “to see these two gentlemen face to face” for the first time since the attack.
“Thank you for your extraordinary efforts to be here,” Nivison told Chan. “It is always important for the court to hear from the victim. While we can get some sense of the impact from a written statement, we get the best information from the victims themselves.”
The judge acknowledged that for Chan the sentences imposed would not restore his sense of security.
“I wish I could put you back to where you were before,” Nivison said. “The sentences in both these cases are significant sentences and does, in my view, address under the law, this event in a serious way.”
Both men were sentenced to three years of probation after their release. Brown and Record also were ordered to pay more than $9,300 in restitution to the Victim’s Witness Fund to reimburse it for money paid out to Chan. Each would be responsible for repaying half that amount.
In addition to the charges related to the motel attack, Brown was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $400 fine after pleading guilty to three counts of unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs and unlawful possession of scheduled drugs stemming from an unrelated incident. The sentences are to be served consecutively. Brown also was ordered to pay $1,240 in restitution on the drug charges.