Bangor woman gets six years for trying to smother elderly woman

Posted June 24, 2011, at 11:23 a.m.
Last modified June 24, 2011, at 3:39 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A woman who tried to suffocate an elderly female resident at a Bangor nursing home in February pleaded guilty to aggravated assault Friday and was sentenced to six years in prison by Superior Court Justice William Anderson.

Jodi Lynn Holmes, 49, of Bangor, admitted going into the victim’s room at the Bangor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Texas Avenue in Bangor

about 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6., and found the 97-year-old woman alone in her room.

Holmes did not know her victim, according Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County.

“As far as we know, she was at the nursing home looking for a victim,” he said after the sentencing.

Holmes, who was on federal probation for mailing bomb threats to Bangor-area schools in 2007 when she assaulted the woman, has a long history of mental illness. The nature of her mental illness was not discussed Friday during the sentencing hearing.

She has been held since her arrest at the Penobscot County Jail unable to make $50,000 bail. That time will be applied to her sentence.

Anderson accepted the plea agreement for a six-year sentence that was jointly recommended by Roberts and defense attorney David Bate of Bangor.

“Six years seem appropriate given the nature of the crime,” Roberts told Anderson. “She could have caused a major injury or possibly death.”

When the judge asked Holmes why she was pleading guilty, she replied: “Because I am guilty as charged, Sir.”

Although the victim’s family members attended the hearing, members of Holmes’ family did not.

By pleading guilty, Holmes admitted that she removed the elderly woman’s glasses, straddled her legs to hold her down as the woman sat in her wheelchair, then took the pillow off a roommate’s bed and pushed it tightly against the victim’s face and jaws.

A staff member delivering meals found the elderly woman “slumped in her wheelchair and she looked very pale and ashy,” a Bangor police affidavit said. The victim, who cannot hear and speaks only softly, “said she was terrified and could not breathe at all,” police said.

Holmes is on federal probation because of her conviction in 2008 for writing and mailing bomb threats that shut down three area schools. She signed the threatening letters “Radar” and in March 2007 sent them to Hampden Academy, Bangor Christian Schools and John Bapst Memorial High School.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Holmes to two years in federal prison and three years of supervised release. A hearing on a motion to revoke her supervised release is scheduled to be held July 5 in federal court in Bangor.

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