Man sentenced for machete attack

Posted Feb. 26, 2010, at 7:11 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A man who pleaded guilty to attempted murder in a home invasion and machete attack that maimed a former state legislator and his daughter was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison.

Leo Hylton, 22, of Augusta apologized to the victims and gave an account of the May 2008 attack that laid most of the blame on his foster brother.

Justice Nancy Mills, who imposed the sentence, said Hylton had given so many versions of the attacks that she was torn about which one to believe.

“This is among the handful of the most extraordinarily violent cases that I’ve ever heard of,” Mills said before imposing the sentence in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Hylton, who was 18 at the time of the attacks, pleaded guilty last year to three counts of attempted murder, as well as other charges, but then tried unsuccessfully to withdraw the pleas. Hylton contended he pleaded guilty to shield Daniel Fortune, who’s awaiting trial.

William Guerrette Jr., who served in the Maine House of Representatives in the mid-1990s, and his daughter Nicole, who was 10 at the time, both suffered permanent injuries in the attack. Guerrette’s wife jumped out a second-story window to save herself, a teenage son fled through a basement door, and another daughter hid under her bed.

Prosecutors never established a clear motive, but Fortune, who was Hylton’s roommate, was one of two men charged in connection with the theft of a safe containing $30,000 in cash, rare coins and historic bank notes from the Guerrette home.

Various family members, including William Guerrette and his daughter, spoke at the sentencing. Several others also spoke on behalf of Hylton.

Hylton read a letter of apology to the victims and their family before telling the judge that he wanted to set the record straight with an account that presented himself as an unwilling participant.

Alan Kelley, deputy district attorney, noted that Hylton admitted providing transportation, providing knives and failing to intervene in the bloody attack, then later disposing of evidence and trying to cover up the crime.

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