ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Sedgwick man was convicted and sentenced Wednesday in Hancock County Superior Court to serve six months behind bars for shooting another man’s car with a gun.
Christopher Robbins, 29, was convicted by a jury on Wednesday of criminal mischief with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Robbins has a prior felony conviction from 2005 stemming from an incident in which he led police in Hancock County on a high-speed chase, according to his defense attorney.
Immediately after his conviction Wednesday, Justice Ann Murray sentenced Robbins to an overall term of one year behind bars with all but six months suspended for the criminal mischief charge. Robbins also received a concurrent six-month sentence for possession of a firearm by a felon.
The defendant also was ordered to serve a probation term of one year upon his release, to receive counseling as part of his probation, and to pay restitution of $50.
Robbins was accused of shooting another man’s car several times outside a third man’s Blue Hill home on Nov. 12, 2009. The car owner was a former friend of Robbins whom Robbins accused of stealing some of his possessions.
The shooting happened after Robbins and the car owner came across one another at the Blue Hill home. Robbins challenged the car owner to fight and tried to hit him, but the other man declined to fight with Robbins.
Robbins acknowledged on the witness stand Wednesday that he was angry with the car owner and that he was guilty of damaging the man’s property in other ways.
“If anything, I’m guilty of slashing his tires,” Robbins said Wednesday. He said he slashed the man’s tires three days before the shooting incident in Blue Hill.
After Robbins failed to get the other man to fight him on Nov. 12, 2009, according to police, he left the Blue Hill home but then returned a little while later in his truck, slowing down as he drove past the house and then turned around.
The car owner told police he then saw Robbins stop his truck as it pulled up next to the car. He said he saw Robbins stick a rifle out the window and then heard several popping noises of shots being fired. No one was in the targeted car at the time the gun was fired.
Robbins drove off but was stopped by police in Sedgwick a few minutes later. Police subsequently searched Robbins’ truck and home on Old County Road and found some .22-caliber bullets, but failed to find any gun or spent shell casings.
According to WIlliam Entwisle, assistant Hancock County district attorney, Robbins initially denied having fired shots at the other man’s car but later ended up confessing to the crime. As part of the confession, Robbins volunteered that he had disposed of the rifle by throwing it into the Benjamin River, Entwisle said.
On Wednesday, Robbins testified that he ended up just agreeing with police about what had happened in order to get them to leave him alone. He said on the stand that he did not fire the shots and never had a gun that he could have used.
Entwisle said Wednesday, after Robbins was convicted and sentenced, that the trial’s outcome was the appropriate one.
“The evidence is pretty strong,” the prosecutor said. “Firing a gun close to a residence to express your anger to someone isn’t acceptable [behavior].”
Robbins’ defense attorney, Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth, said Wednesday afternoon that Robbins was disappointed with the verdict. He pointed out that his client was convicted of shooting the gun and of possessing a gun even though police never found the gun that Robbins supposedly had used in the crimes.
Toothaker acknowledged that Robbins’ recanted confession did not work in his favor.
“All the talking the day of the event didn’t help,” Toothaker said.