ROCKLAND, Maine — A 50-year-old Vinalhaven man will serve 30 days in jail for assaulting a woman and her 2-year-old child, but only if he adheres to certain conditions over the next 13 months.
James M. McDonald pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in Knox County Superior Court to felony assault and domestic violence assault. As part of the deferred disposition reached with the district attorney’s office, the felony assault will be reduced to a misdemeanor assault if McDonald refrains from criminal conduct and undergoes substance abuse counseling during the next 13 months.
If he meets those conditions, McDonald will be sentenced to a combined 364 days in jail with all but 30 days suspended, fined $200 and placed on probation for a year.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody told the court that the state’s contention is that McDonald did not mean to strike the 2-year-old but that he was reckless while assaulting the child’s mother and that the little girl was struck once during the incident. McDonald also pleaded guilty to domestic violence for assaulting the woman in June on Vinalhaven.
The incident reportedly occurred when McDonald came to the home drunk and wanted to leave with the child. When the mother refused, he assaulted the woman and struck the child once. The mother had several bumps on her when emergency medical staff arrived and the child had one bump on her head.
Police found McDonald at his mother’s home, according to Baroody.
McDonald had no criminal record before the June assault, the prosecutor noted. The defendant’s blood alcohol level was found to be 0.22, which is nearly three times what would be considered legal to drive.
If McDonald violates the terms of the agreement, he will be sentenced for a felony assault, and the domestic violence assault and his sentence would be determined by the judge.
Justice Jeffrey Hjelm accepted the agreement during Wednesday’s hearing. Attorney Stephen Smith represented McDonald.