FARMINGTON — A local man scheduled for a new trial Friday on a charge of beating his then-girlfriend in 2016 pleaded no contest Wednesday and was freed from jail for time served.
Wesley Villacci, 23, of Farmington pleaded no contest to felony domestic violence assault in exchange for a charge of violating conditions of release being dismissed.
The plea means he did not admit or deny the charge, but wanted to resolve the case without a trial.
Franklin County Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen found Villacci guilty Wednesday and sentenced him to two years in prison, with all but 30 days suspended.
Villacci was given credit for 30 days already served.
A corrections officer at the Franklin County Detention Center said Wednesday evening Villacci was no longer there.
Justice Mullen ordered Villacci to serve two years of probation, during which he is not to use or possess illegal drugs, alcohol and firearms and have no contact with his ex-girlfriend.
Villacci was accused of smashing his then-girlfriend’s face on the dashboard of a vehicle, hitting and kicking her, and later beating her and attempting to strangle her at their home Oct. 1, 2016, according to court records.
He was convicted by a jury in September 2017 of felony domestic violence assault and violating conditions of release, and sentenced to 4½ years in prison, with all but three years suspended, and four years of probation.
In June, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ordered a new trial after finding a Franklin County court erred when giving instructions to the jury. A new trial was to start Friday with jury selection.
Justice Mullen said he was told by prosecutors that the former girlfriend had a difficult time testifying at the first trial and would be reluctant to testify at another.
Deputy District Attorney James Andrews said his staff got no response when it notified her of Wednesday’s plea and sentencing.
Villacci has been held on $50,000 cash bail since late July, when he finished serving an Androscoggin Court sentence for domestic violence assault in 2015.
Wesley Villacci (Franklin County Detention Center)