ROCKLAND, Maine — Justice Jeffrey Hjelm rejected Wednesday an agreement reached between the district attorney’s office and defense in the case of a Rockland man accused of again beating his longtime female companion.
Hjelm said he could not accept the seven-month jail sentence proposed by the two sides in the case against Peter J. McClure, 46, of Rockland, who is charged with felony domestic violence. Citing prior convictions against McClure in which the same woman was the victim, the judge said he could not accept any plea that included less than nine months in jail for the defendant.
According to a report filed by the Rockland Police Department, two officers who responded on Aug. 24 to a domestic disturbance call at a local residence witnessed McClure striking the woman in the face with his open hand. The blow sent the woman down on a couch.
McClure also was charged with refusing to submit to arrest when he struggled with the officers.
The woman told officers that McClure had earlier thrown her against the television set and punched her in the face with his fist.
McClure had been charged in 2011 with assaulting the woman but that was dismissed in exchange for pleas to other offenses. He also had been convicted in 2009 of domestic violence assault against the same woman.
Defense attorney James Mason said the proposed sentence in this case was significantly longer than any previous sentence McClure had served. The longest sentence previously had been 45 days in jail.
When asked by the judge, Assistant District Attorney Jeff Baroody said the victim had sought a longer sentence on this charge. But the prosecutor also added that seven months was significantly more than the earlier sentences.
The judge’s rejection of the sentence agreement means that the guilty pleas entered by McClure Wednesday in Knox County Superior Court are withdrawn. McClure could plead guilty again if he accepts the nine-month sentence proposed by the judge, or he could take his chances on the case going to trial.
McClure has been held at the Knox County Jail since his arrest nearly two months ago.
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.