BANGOR, Maine — Debbie Mason wants people to know her brother’s not a complete monster.
Mason did not address the judge Thursday when Dennis Wood, 46, of Bangor was sentenced at the Penobscot Judicial Center to 20 years in prison for a home invasion last year in Bangor. She just sat behind him and quietly wept.
“I just want to say that Dennis really isn’t a bad guy; he’s just made a whole lot of mistakes in his life,” Mason, 42, of Bangor told the Bangor Daily News in the parking lot across the street from the courthouse. “He likes putting a needle in his arm.”
Wood pleaded guilty April 12 to robbery, a Class A crime, and aggravated assault, a Class B crime. Those charges stemmed from an attempted home invasion in Bangor on Dec. 13, according to Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County.
On Tuesday, he was sentenced in Somerset County Superior Court to 19½ years in prison after pleading guilty to similar charges related to a July 2008 incident in Palmyra when he entered an elderly woman’s home, demanded money and stole $5,000 in cash before tying her up and leaving. He was convicted of Class A robbery, Class B burglary and Class C theft in connection with that case.
District Court Judge Jessie Gunther ordered Thursday in Bangor that Wood serve the sentences concurrently.
The six-month difference in the sentences was because Wood will be credited with time served in the Penobscot County case but not in the Somerset County one, Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, told Gunther.
With good behavior, Wood could be released in about 17½ years, defense attorney Kirk Bloomer told the judge Thursday.
“I feel so sorry for and apologetic toward for what he did to that elderly lady,” Mason said Thursday. “It breaks my heart that he did that to her.”
Mason said that although her brother had been in trouble for petty thefts as a child, his substance abuse problems, which led to his crimes, got worse about six years ago after their mother’s death.
“I asked him once why he likes to put needles in his arms,” Mason said. “He told me it was ‘because when I do, I feel like I’m in heaven.’ I don’t understand that.”
Like his sister, Wood did not address the court at the sentencing in Bangor. By pleading guilty to the Bangor crimes, Wood admitted that he knocked on the door of a Newton Street residence in Bangor about 6 p.m. Dec. 13 and asked for help.
Wood claimed that he acted alone, but the victims and Roberts have said another man was with Wood that night.
The two told the homeowner that their car had broken down, Roberts said last month. When the homeowner told the men to remain on the porch while he went into the house to get a phone for them to use, the two tried to break in, but the homeowner fought them off, the prosecutor said. Wood and the other man took off when a female inside the house told them she had called the police.
The duo left behind a brown backpack containing zip ties, rope and duct tape, Roberts said. Wood admitted that the backpack was his when he was interviewed by Bangor police a month after the attempted home invasion.
He has been held at Penobscot County Jail, unable to make bail since his arrest on Jan. 4.
Wood has previous convictions for drug possession, theft, burglary and operating after revocation, according to the Bangor Daily News archives.