ROCKLAND, Maine — A 43-year-old Cushing man with a “remarkable violent history” was sentenced to another 18 months behind bars following a two-hour, often emotional sentencing hearing Wednesday afternoon in Knox County Superior Court.
Jonathan Hynd was sentenced by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm for felony domestic violence assault against a female friend last August outside his home.
The district attorney’s office had sought a two-year prison sentence while the defense attorney asked that Hynd be sentenced to the 70 days he has already served pending the conclusion of the case.
Wednesday’s hearing saw the victim of the most recent assault ask for leniency, saying she still loved Hynd and that she had exaggerated what had happened last year. Another woman who was the victim of a domestic aggravated assault for which Hynd was convicted in 2007 also testified Wednesday, urging the judge to give him a lengthy term, saying he had smashed a frying pan over her head, hit her over the head with a bottle, stabbed her hand with keys, and burned her with cigarettes during their relationship that led to the 2007 charge. The Bangor Daily News is not naming the women since each is considered the victim of a crime.
Hjelm allowed the victim in the previous case to testify at the sentencing hearing because Hynd also was in court on a revocation of his probation from that 2007 aggravated assault conviction in which he received a 10-year sentence with all but 4½ years suspended.
The probation revocation and new felony domestic violence assault charge stems from an incident in August when Hynd’s friend told the Knox County Sheriff’s Office that Hynd just blew up for no reason, grabbed her by the shirt while she was in a vehicle, and pulled her out, causing her to fall to the ground.
The woman then ran into a neighboring house to call police.
She said in court Wednesday that she exaggerated when she spoke to police and that both Hynd and her had been exhausted from work. She told Hjelm she is not a victim but a successful business owner in Rockland who sees the good in Hynd.
But Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald played the 911 tape recording from the woman’s call to police. In it, she pleads with the dispatcher to get an officer to the scene as soon as possible and then screams when Hynd enters the house she was in. She can be heard saying “stop, stop” before the phone connection is lost. Police reports filed after the incident stated that Hynd grabbed the cellphone from her as she was talking to the dispatcher and threw it on the floor.
The assault charge was elevated to felony level because of Hynd’s prior domestic violence assault convictions.
Justice Hjelm noted in his sentencing decision that an aggravating factor was the eight prior assault convictions that included several felony ones.
“That’s a remarkable violent history,” Hjelm said.
Hynd surrendered to police a few months after the incident and after missing three consecutive monthly meetings with his probation officer.
Family and friends attended the meeting to voice support for Hynd.
His probation officer George Mele said Hynd had been adhering to probation until that incident. Mele said he also stood by his recommendation of a much lighter sentence for Hynd than was being sought by the prosecution.
Defense attorney Christian Foster urged no additional jail time than the 70 days Hynd has already served. He said the 2012 assault was low on the scale of possible assaults. Foster said there was no hitting or punching but that Hynd acted impulsively and pulled the woman out of the vehicle. He cited the current statement by the woman to support his argument.
He also said Hynd has both been an excellent employee and a supporter of his family, including his mother.
Foster also challenged the testimony of the victim from the 2007 case. He said Hynd served his time on that case and that the woman in that case had continued to meet with Hynd while he was serving time in prison until the Maine Department of Corrections realized she was the victim and stopped allowing her to visit.
The attorney also pointed out that while Hynd served the time for that 2007 conviction, he went through a program to deal with his anger.
Hynd’s brother, David, spoke and said while Jonathan had a temper it was the result of a very difficult upbringing. He said rejection was the order of the day from their mother.
He said despite the way she treated them as children, Jonathan has taken it upon himself to support his mother so that she could remain in her home instead of being placed in a nursing home.
David Hynd also said Jonathan has a work ethic that you seldom see anymore. He would give the shirt off his back to help someone, the brother said.
The defense attorney said he wanted to get Hynd enrolled in an intensive inpatient program that would deal with both his anger management and substance abuse issues.
“Incarceration is a blunt and crude instrument,” Foster said.
Fernald said that anger management programs have been shown not to work with domestic violence offenders and that Hynd needed individual counseling to deal with his violent behavior.
Hynd, often choking back tears, said he was trying to put the past behind him.
“I know in my heart I am a good person,” he said.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.