DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A Charleston man with a lengthy history of domestic violence was found guilty this week of domestic violence assault and terrorizing.
Warren R. Benson, 21, pleaded no contest on Monday to domestic violence assault and terrorizing, both Class C felonies, in Dover-Foxcroft District Court. He also pleaded guilty to violating conditions of release, a Class E misdemeanor.
He was sentenced by Judge Kevin Stitham to three years in jail, with all but one year suspended, and two years of probation, Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said on Wednesday. Benson also has several release conditions, which include attending a batterers intervention program, no use of illegal drugs or alcohol and no contact with the victim or witnesses.
“He is a person who concerns our office and local police,” Almy said. “We are concerned about what’s going to happen when he’s released from jail. He’s had a history of violence, especially toward his domestic partners.”
Benson was arrested last August for attacking his then-girlfriend at her Sebec home.
The victim, whom the Bangor Daily News is not identifying, told Victim Witness Advocate Corina Tibbetts that she had been in a relationship with Benson for about two months before the violent episode that occurred in the early morning hours on Aug. 3, 2012, according to court documents.
The victim was told by DHHS that Benson could not spend the night while her two children were there, according to court documents.
Benson allegedly came home drunk at 1:30 a.m. and was loud enough to wake the victim’s 5-year-old son.
When she told Benson that he had to leave, he got in her face twice. Twice she pushed him back, but he then grabbed her arm and pulled her down and smashed her face into a wall, she told police.
Benson then wouldn’t allow her to leave the bedroom by blocking the door. She was able to push the door open, but he slammed the door onto her body, she told police.
After getting out from the door, the woman tried to call police, but he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her hard enough to send her across the living room. She was pushed down by Benson six times thereafter, she said.
Benson threatened to punch her as she shielded her children. He then threw a chair hard enough to leave a hole in a wall.
The victim’s father, who was sleeping in another room, told Benson to leave.
“[Benson] calmed down instantly [after he said that],” she told police.
Benson left the house and apologized soon after, but left before police and paramedics could arrive.
The victim was taken by ambulance and treated at Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft.
Later that morning, Benson called the victim’s mother and threatened to kill her and her husband, the victim and the victim’s two children, according to a police affidavit. Lt. James Kane of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department said in his report that Benson also threatened to blow up the victim’s home.
At 6:30 a.m. the same day, Benson was arrested at the house where the assault took place, but refused to cooperate with sheriff’s deputies.
In Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft on Aug. 6, Benson told Kane that he was very drunk that night and didn’t remember much of the incident.
Benson has a lengthy criminal history in Piscataquis, Penobscot and Somerset counties, according to court records. He’s been found guilty on at least 11 charges dating back to 2010.
He was found guilty of domestic violence assault in Dover-Foxcroft District Court in 2010 and in Piscataquis County Superior Court in 2011. He has also been found guilty of violating a protection order three times, violating conditions of release twice, criminal mischief twice, refusal to submit to arrest or detention and unlawful possession of scheduled drugs.
Benson has already served 10 months of his sentence, said Almy. He’ll likely be released from jail in two months.
“We are concerned, the community is concerned, the sheriff’s department is concerned because he does not fare well in domestic situations,” said Almy.