FARMINGTON — A Walpole man pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated assault and criminal mischief against a woman in March in Stratton.
Clay A. Carter, 32, was expected to go on trial Monday in Franklin County Superior Court but state and defense attorneys worked out an agreement that puts a five-year cap on the time Carter would serve in prison. A conviction on the felony aggravated assault charge carries up to 10 years in prison. A conviction on the misdemeanor criminal mischief carries up to 364 days in prison.
Justice Michaela Murphy told Carter that she accepted the guilty pleas but did not accept the cap at this time.
She will wait until 9 a.m. Tuesday at the sentencing until she hears from the victim and other testimony. If she doesn't accept the cap, Murphy told Carter he would be allowed to withdraw his plea if he wasn't in agreement with the sentence. The state will also be asking for four years probation, Assistant District Attorney James Andrews said.
The state dismissed two sex-related charges — gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact — in the plea agreement. A sexual assault conviction carries up to 30 years in prison. An unlawful sexual assault conviction of the level Carter was indicted on carries up to 10 years in prison.
Andrews said if the case went to trial, the victim would testify that she and Carter, girlfriend and boyfriend at the time, were at an apartment of a common male friend.
The victim would testify that Carter went into a jealous rage and dragged her outside by the hair. Once back at their residence, the victim would testify Carter “smashed” her head on a deck several times, Andrews said.
and continued to drag her back to their residence and “smashed” her head on a deck several times, Andrews said. He also picked her up and threw her against a wall inside the couple's residence, he said. There would also be medical testimony of the injuries the woman received, Andrews said.
Carter's attorney, Walter McKee, said they did not agree with some of the evidence that the state would present if the case went to trial. However, Carter told the justice that if the case went to trial he believed he would be convicted of the charges if the state presented its evidence.
Andrews said after the plea hearing that the state had been reviewing evidence in the case preparing for trial there were some proof issues that may not have resulted in a jury issuing a guilty verdict on all charges. An adjustment of adding family or household member to the aggravated assault charge did increase the probation time allowed by law from three years to four years, he said.