ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Bar Harbor man who robbed the Bar Harbor Rite-Aid last November and made off with prescription medication has pleaded no contest to the crime.
As a result, Donald Mace will spend a year behind bars, according to documents filed in Hancock County Superior Court. Mace pleaded no contest on June 3 to charges of robbery, stealing drugs and violating conditions of release. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but courts treat it the same as a guilty plea.
Mace’s defense attorney, Charles Helfrich of Ellsworth, said Monday that Mace pleaded no contest in the hopes of avoiding any civil liability in the matter, but he added that he knows of no pending civil litigation aimed at his client.
Overall, Mace was given a six-year sentence for the Nov. 15, 2012 robbery with all but one year of it suspended and a subsequent probation term of three years, meaning he potentially could go back to prison for five years if he gets into more legal trouble after he is released. He also was given concurrent sentences of one year on the charge of stealing drugs and 30 days for violating conditions of release.
At the time of the robbery, Mace was on deferred disposition for a conviction for operating a motor vehicle after his license had been revoked. Had he stayed out of trouble from April 2012 until April 2013, Mace would have had to serve only 60 days on the operating after revocation conviction. Because of the pharmacy incident, however, Mace instead will have to serve nine months and a day behind bars on the motor vehicle violation, which he will do concurrently with his other sentences.
Mace was ordered to pay $1,765 in fines and fees and $262 in restitution to Rite-Aid.
Police alleged Mace committed the robbery by walking into the Cottage Street pharmacy wearing black sweatpants, a long-sleeve white or beige shirt, a ski mask and a black mask covering his eyes, and demanding oxycodone from a pharmacy employee.
“Don’t make me get violent,” Mace wrote in a note that he gave a clerk.
After being given some pills, Mace ran out of the store and initially evaded police. He was arrested a few weeks later at a Ledgelawn Avenue apartment where he was living at the time, police have said.
Mace’s sentence was stayed until Sept. 1 of this year, court documents indicate. Without going into detail, Helfrich and Mary Kellett, assistant district attorney for Hancock County, each said that Mace has medical issues that will include surgery between now and the date he is expected to begin serving his sentence. Until Sept. 1, Mace is expected to live in Bar Harbor with relatives approved by the court and to observe a curfew between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., according to court documents.
At a March court appearance, Mace told Justice Ann Murray that since last November he had completed an inpatient substance abuse treatment program and begun outpatient treatment and counseling in Ellsworth and on Mount Desert Island.
Helfrich declined on Monday to comment about what sort of medical issues his client is facing. Speaking in general terms, he said Mace has taken responsibility for his actions and is making a concerted effort to make sure he does not relapse into criminal behavior.
“He’s concerned that this type of behavior does not happen again,” Helfrich said.