AUGUSTA, Maine — A Chelsea man has been found guilty of three domestic violence offenses, about four months after the victim was arrested on a material witness warrant because she reportedly said she wouldn’t testify against her abuser.
Robert A. Robinson Jr., 45, waived his right to a jury trial and Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Donald Marden found him guilty of domestic violence assault, domestic violence criminal threatening and domestic violence terrorizing in a decision filed Thursday. All are Class C crimes. He will be sentenced at a later date.
The charges stemmed from a series of threats and assaults between April 10-13.
On the first day, Robinson reportedly put a pillowcase over his girlfriend’s head, telling her that he had a knife and would cut her genitals and slit her throat to “teach her a lesson.” He claimed he had “dug a hole in the woods and that she would fit in that hole perfectly,” according to court documents.
In an assault two days later, Robinson woke up around 7 p.m. after taking medications and blamed the victim for letting him oversleep. He proceeded to whip her with a belt and beat her with a broken broom handle, according to court documents.
The victim did not notify police of the beating, and instead visited her mother in Monmouth. Seeing her daughter’s condition, the mother called police and medical personnel.
“The victim did not want to make a criminal complaint or take any action,” the judge wrote in his decision.
The victim shared her story in court, but only after she was arrested on Sept. 17 in hopes of compelling her to testify against her abuser. Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said at the time that prosecutors worried that if the victim didn’t testify, Robinson would go free, and believed compelling her to testify might save her life.
The victim was released on unsecured bail the next day after appearing in court. Her attorney argued that the victim had always planned on testifying and that her client’s arrest was an “abuse of power” by the district attorney’s office.
“[Robinson] is very controlling in his relationship with [the victim]; she is very agreeable and vulnerable to such control,” the judge wrote in his decision.
Robinson was indicted on May 29. He is a lifetime registrant on Maine’s Sex Offender Registry for 10 felony convictions. He has a “history of very assaultive behavior and antisocial personality disorder going back to his very early years,” the judge said. Robinson also reportedly suffered two serious head injuries stemming from a pair of motorcycle accidents, the most recent in 2012.
The defense argued Robinson was sleepwalking or in an “altered state of consciousness” during the assaults, but the judge rejected those claims. Marden instead sided with a written report from a forensic psychiatrist from the Maine State Forensic Service who found that “at the time of the allegations, Robert Robinson was not suffering from a mental illness so severe that [it] severely impaired his ability [to] appreciate the wrongfulness of his acts.”
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.