PARIS, Maine — A Rumford man who pleaded guilty to stealing items valued at $11,000 from his neighbor’s house in May will get no jail time.
Charles E. Hamilton, 47, of 26 Rangeley Place, was given a two-year deferred disposition in Oxford County Superior Court on Wednesday. That means he has to make restitution of $1,200 at $50 a month through the district attorney’s office and refrain from committing another crime, said Joseph O’Connor, assistant district attorney.
If Hamilton meets those conditions, the case against him would be dismissed after two years.
That did not sit well with Jodi McKenna, who identified herself before Justice Robert W. Clifford as the single mother from whom Hamilton stole home furnishings and irreplaceable family mementos.
“There were things in that house that can’t be replaced, family items,” said an emotionally distraught McKenna, formerly of 30 Rangeley Place. “It upsets me to no end that someone I trusted could do this to me.”
O’Connor acknowledged that Hamilton is legally blind and on disability.
“Obviously, the amount that would be paid in restitution does not come close to the amount lost by Miss McKenna,” O’Connor said.
Clifford said the amount of restitution was based on Hamilton’s financial condition. If he fails to meet the obligation, he will face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
“Twelve hundred dollars doesn’t even come close to what I lost,” McKenna said, starting to sob. “I’m unemployed and trying to support my daughter.”
The case began Wednesday when Hamilton gingerly approached the judge, sweeping a walking cane for the blind from side to side ahead of him. He stood beside his court-appointed lawyer, Maurice Porter, who told Clifford he and the DA’s office had agreed to a plea deal wherein a felony burglary charge stemming from the May 3 incident and arrest would be dismissed.
Hamilton pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge and Clifford read into the record a lengthy list of McKenna’s belongings that were stolen by Hamilton.
They included a ¾-cut diamond ring and assorted jewelry, five rolls of insulation, a cooler, napkins with rings, compact discs, two step ladders, a training potty, a dog dish, a Coleman stove, a boot dryer, tree injections, a lamp, a memory-foam bed roll, a safety helmet, Christmas decorations, three gas cans, two pitchforks, solar lights, a state quarter book with quarters, a 32-inch television set, a Nintendo Wii, a Dell computer, Stihl and Black & Decker weed whackers, silverware, a nightstand, furniture, five blankets, four pillows, assorted children’s toys, Hallmark Christmas ornaments, a scanner, a Hewlett Packard printer, an antique bassinet, a Coleman tent, assorted tools, a pocketbook, a clock, paintings, darts, a Sony video camera, three baskets and a home gym system.
O’Connor told the court that had Hamilton not pleaded guilty, he would have said that McKenna was forced to move out of her home in January 2012 when a bank started foreclosure proceedings. He said the bank changed the locks on the building.
McKenna returned this past spring to discover her house had been ransacked and that the thief entered through a broken window in the basement. She contacted Rumford police Cpl. Lawrence Winson, who interviewed Hamilton and got a confession.
Hamilton, however, said McKenna told him he could take the belongings, which McKenna denied, O’Connor said. Hamilton claimed the door was unlocked; McKenna said the bank locked it up.