ROCKLAND, Maine — A 51-year-old Rockland man will spend a year behind bars after a judge accepted his guilty pleas associated with the assault of his wife last year.
James Beal was sentenced Monday in Knox County Superior Court by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm to five years in prison with all but one year suspended for aggravated assault. Beal will also be placed on probation for three years and required to undergo psychological and domestic violence counseling.
Hjelm had rejected a plea agreement offered by the district attorney’s office and defense last month which would have had Beal serve six months in jail.
“The magnitude of the violence in this act was such a high level that the sentence needed to be much higher,” the judge said Monday.
Beal would have served the six months at the county jail, while this sentence will place him in the Maine Department of Corrections system. Beal also pleaded guilty and received lesser concurrent sentences for domestic violence criminal threatening, criminal restraint, criminal mischief and violating a condition of release.
The victim told police in September that Beal assaulted her repeatedly at their Pine Street home during a fight over their pending divorce, according to an affidavit filed in court by Rockland police.
Beal grabbed her by the hair and pulled her into the bathroom where he locked the door, threw her on the floor, kicked her and punched her, according to the affidavit. She estimated that he struck her 100 times. During the assaults, he would whisper to her that he was going to kill her, according to the affidavit.
She said she was locked in the bathroom with him for more than 30 minutes.
She eventually was able to get out of the house and ran to the nearby McDonald’s parking lot, police reported.
A police officer noticed bruising all over her arm. When the officer saw her later at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, he learned that she had one broken rib with others possibly fractured; bruises over her head, arms and back; and hair had been pulled out of her head. One ear was completely purple, he reported.
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.