MACHIAS, Maine — Two Baileyville men were sentenced to jail terms Tuesday in Washington County Superior Court in part for their role in a racially motivated incident with some American Indian youth in 2007, and for other crimes they committed while they were free on bail.
Among the charges faced by David Townsend, 22, was aggravated assault, criminal threatening, disorderly conduct in connection with the racial incident and three counts of aggravated trafficking of scheduled W drugs and violation of condition of release. During court on Tuesday, the aggravated trafficking was reduced to traf-ficking. Justice E. Allen Hunter sentenced him to one year in jail and two years of probation.
Nicholas James, 18, was sentenced to nine months in jail and two years of probation on charges of assault and burglary. Six months of his probation will be served under house arrest.
Both men also received five-year suspended sentences, and were returned to Washington County Jail.
First Assistant District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh said Tuesday that it was clear from the evidence that although Townsend was only an accomplice in the racial attack, he was just as guilty.
The evidence showed, Cavanaugh said, that Townsend joined in the foray two years ago along with his younger brother, Corey, but it was Corey Townsend who got into the fight with the Indian Township tribal youth.
Cavanaugh also noted that although racial epithets were yelled by some of the men, none was by Townsend. The most that Townsend said was “Go, Corey go,” Cavanaugh said of the fight.
Townsend’s brother, who was a juvenile at the time, already has had his day in court. Last year, he was found not guilty on the aggravated assault charges, but was convicted of a lesser charge of assault. He also was found guilty on a criminal threatening charge, but was found not guilty on the disorderly conduct charge.
Two other men who allegedly also were involved in the assault — Adam Casey and Sean MacArthur — are still awaiting trial.
The arrests stemmed from an Aug. 19, 2007, incident on Broadway Street in Baileyville after two tribal members were attacked and beaten up. When police arrived, they found that one of the Passamaquoddy youths had bruises, cuts and swelling on his arm and injuries to his head.
According to the complaint on file in the court, the defendants drove up to the victims and emerged from their cars armed with two-by-fours, sticks and pipes. The complaint goes on to say that one of the Baileyville men yelled, “Come on, let’s get the Indians.” The other defendants also directed anti-American Indian epithets at the victims.
Last year, the Washington County Superior Court ordered the four men and juvenile to stay away from five Passamaquoddy youths from Indian Township and to refrain from violating the Maine Civil Rights Act.
The defendants consented to the court order by signing consent decrees. But under the decrees, the defendants did not admit to committing the threats or assaults or otherwise violating the Maine Civil Rights Act.
But under the order, any future violations of the Maine Civil Rights Act by the defendants will be prosecutable as a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days in jail.
Addressing the sale of drugs, Cavanaugh said that while Townsend was on bail he was caught in November selling drugs to a confidential informant.
Townsend’s attorney Carol Lewis of Lubec reiterated that Townsend was not directly involved in the assault. “He never yelled a racial slur and never hit anyone,” she said. “He was an accomplice and he is willing to accept responsibility.”
“I have changed,” Townsend told the judge. “And when I get out I have a job. Jail is not fun, that’s for sure.”
Next up was Nicholas James.
Cavanaugh said that while James was on bail, he stole collector coins valued at more than $1,000 from a Baileyville resident who was at church at the time and $4,000 from his grandparents. The money was used to feed James’ drug habit, the DA said.
James’s grandmother then appealed to Justice Hunter to allow her grandson to get help for his drug addiction problem and not be sent to prison.
James’ uncle, Colin Leeman, also asked the judge to show leniency. After the money was discovered missing, he said his nephew confessed almost immediately to what he had done.
James’ attorney Norman Toffolon of Machias urged the judge to allow his client to go to a residential drug treatment program, not jail.
James then apologized to the court. “I messed up,” he said.