ROCKLAND, Maine — A superior court justice on Tuesday reluctantly sentenced a 42-year-old Randolph man with a lengthy history of domestic abuse to nine months in jail for another domestic violence assault.
Justice Jeffrey Hjelm acknowledged that the sentence was “very light” for Joseph A. Weymouth, who has three prior convictions for domestic violence, including one against the latest victim. But Hjelm explained that he was swayed by the victim’s written plea that the judge accept the sentencing agreement so she would not have to face her assailant in court.
“Not only does this sentence seem to be light, it is in fact very light,” Hjelm said. But he said the letter from the victim was one of the most definitive he had seen in her wish not to testify and have to face her attacker again.
If Hjelm had not accepted the sentencing agreement, Weymouth would have gone to trial and the victim would have had to testify.
Weymouth was sentenced Tuesday in Knox County Superior Court to five years in jail with all but nine months suspended and will be placed on probation for two years upon his release.
He has been behind bars since his arrest on July 17 and is expected to be released in March.
The judge pointed out that the base sentence of five years was the maximum for the offense and that Weymouth could serve the remainder of that time if he violates probation.
Hjelm said Weymouth, who also was convicted of domestic assault in 2009, 2010 and 2011, was a dangerous person to his domestic partners.
In 2010, Weymouth served six months for beating and choking his girlfriend after a day of drinking. Then in January 2011, he was sentenced to two more years after he was found to have violated his probation by going to her home in Warren, damaging some property and threatening her with a screwdriver.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald said Tuesday that Weymouth pushed the latest victim to the floor and struck her in the head several times. The woman had blood on her shirt, a couple of red marks on her neck, a cut to her chin and a bleeding ear when officers arrived at the Warren home after the July assault.
Weymouth was convicted in this case on an Alford plea in which he did not admit committing the offense but agreed that the state had enough evidence to convict him.
Weymouth also was sentenced to a lesser concurrent sentence for writing letters to the woman from jail after he had been barred from having contact with her.
Defense attorney Roger Hurley said Tuesday that his client realizes he must stay away from the victim upon his release. Hurley said he advised Weymouth to not contact her by telephone, letter or even a note attached to a pigeon.
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.