South Thomaston man reaches plea deal in domestic assault case

Posted Jan. 07, 2013, at 12:08 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 26-year-old South Thomaston man who was charged with assault for allegedly holding his former girlfriend’s head underwater during a party last summer will see that charge dropped if he adheres to terms of a deal approved Monday.

Stephen V. Motta pleaded guilty Monday in Knox County Superior Court to domestic violence assault. The agreement was reached with the prosecution under terms of a deferred disposition in which the assault charge will be dropped and Motta will be convicted of disorderly conduct if he refrains from criminal conduct for the next 12 months, pays $120 in restitution, and undergoes anger management counseling if required after a psychological evaluation.

Motta would serve seven days in jail under the agreement.

If he violates the agreement, he would be sentenced for domestic violence assault which carries a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald said the agreement was reached because there were potential proof problems with the case. He said the incident occurred at a party where there was drinking, an argument ensued and there were contradictory witness statements. He said the defense also was expected to raise either self-defense or defense of a third person arguments in the case.

The victim in the case told police that Motta held her head underwater and another man came and pulled him off her, according to a police affidavit filed in court. The incident occurred in August on Bar Island in Knox County.

The woman told the Knox County Sheriff’s Office that she felt she would have been killed if the other person had not intervened.

Fernald said Monday that the victim supported the agreement reached with Motta.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm approved the agreement.

Motta was represented by attorney Eric “Rick” Morse.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 1-866-834-4357, TRS 1-800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.

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