AUBURN — A Lewiston man who robbed an upscale wine shop last year and severely beat the clerk with a wine bottle is expected to be sentenced Monday.
Arthur Bush, 47, of 45 Shawmut St. appeared Friday in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Friday where his attorney and the prosecutor offered arguments supporting their respective recommended sentences.
Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis is seeking a 25-year sentence with 10 years suspended, plus four years probation; defense attorney Adam Sherman asked the judge for a nine-year sentence with five years suspended.
Bush faces up to 30 years in prison on a robbery charge. On the charge of aggravated assault, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
“I just want to say I’m sorry to Mrs. Goundie,” Bush said Friday.
Lisa Goundie, 57, was the clerk who had been working at The Vault on Lisbon Street when Bush robbed her after smashing her in the head with a wine bottle.
“I can’t go back in time. And I wish I never did it,” he said.
Matulis said he is seeking to have Bush pay nearly $12,000 in restitution for Goundie’s medical care. Her lost wages amount to $3,333.62, Matulis said.
He said that on July 23, 2016, shortly before 3 p.m., a Lewiston police officer responded to a report of a woman being assaulted at the shop.
According to police, two customers found Goundie coming out of a bathroom “covered in blood and hysterical.” Her head was bleeding profusely, but she was conscious.
She described her attacker as a white man in his 40s, who was missing teeth.
Goundie was rushed to Central Maine Medical Center for emergency surgery after the customers treated her open wounds and called 911.
Police said Goundie told them she had been in the process of selling her assailant, later identified by police as Bush, three bottles of wine when he attacked her, hitting her in the head with one of the bottles.
She had armed herself earlier with a corkscrew when she observed that Bush was acting in a “strange” manner, Matulis said Friday.
After the assault, when she was on the floor, Bush stepped or knelt on her neck, saying several times he was “going to kill her,” Matulis said.
After the attack, Bush dragged her into the bathroom as she begged for her life, she told police. She told Bush she had a husband and children. She managed to lock the bathroom door and grabbed a bottle of bleach, which she intended to splash in the Bush’s face if he were to return.
Bush tried, but failed to open the cash register. He stole $4 from Goundie’s wallet before fleeing the store. He later used the stolen cash to buy tobacco. Her wallet was found on the floor near the register.
Matulis said he would have called to the witness stand a fingerprint examiner, had the case gone to trial, who would have testified that the prints found on the wine bottles used to attack Goundie “matched to a sufficient degree of certainty” the fingerprints taken from Bush following his arrest.
Another Maine State Crime Lab worker would have testified that the blood found on Bush’s clothing matched Goundie’s blood.
Bush later told police he had to turn himself in, then confessed to the assault. He said he took $4 from Goundie’s purse and owed $200 to a drug dealer for his addiction to crack and heroin.
Matulis played video footage Friday from a surveillance camera outside the 8th District Courthouse across the street from the Vault. It showed Bush walking along Lisbon Street, trying to open doors to businesses as he moved down the street.
“The defendant has a plan to victimize someone,” Matulis said, explaining that the robbery wasn’t spur of the moment. “He’s looking for the right opportunity.”
Bush’s brother identified him as the suspect in the case after seeing stories in the media and told police where they could find him. When Bush encountered police, he turned himself in, Matulis said.
He confessed to the crime and told police he was remorseful for what he’d done.
He said he hadn’t wanted to kill Goundie and didn’t remember threatening to kill her.
Matulis noted Bush had a “fairly limited” criminal history that includes convictions for drug trafficking, criminal mischief and criminal trespass.
Matulis showed on a screen in the courtroom images from the crime scene, including graphic still photos of pools of Goundie’s blood on the floor by the register and in the bathroom. Another image shows the remains of smashed wine bottles dappled with blood.
Goundie didn’t appear in the courtroom at Friday’s sentencing hearing because just talking about the events that day worsens the psychological damage she has suffered, Matulis said.
Doctors used 30 staples to close the wound to her scalp, Matulis said, and she continues to suffer the effects of a brain injury as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
The assault has “changed everything about her life in fundamental ways,” Matulis said.
She used to drive her husband, who is legally blind. But she can’t drive him anymore. She used to be an avid cook, but now sensory stimulation causes her pain, Matulis said. Many days she must sit in a dark room with as little sensory stimulation as possible, he said.
“There is not a worse way to do this (crime) unless you kill the person,” Matulis said. “He didn’t kill her, but he certainly took away her life as she knew it.”
Sherman later took issue with that characterization, saying Matulis suffered from a “failure of imagination.” He suggested there were more heinous ways the robbery could have occurred.
He said his client had suffered hardships as a child and had been sexually abused by an uncle who introduced him to alcohol at an early age. He was adopted when he was 8 years old and suffered from anxiety and depression as well as PTSD.
He dropped out of school in the eighth grade and spent time in foster care.
“Belts were used” on him, Sherman said. “Broom handles were used.”
Remarkably, Bush has no history of violent crime, Sherman said, until last year’s assault during the robbery.
“That’s a reflection of who he usually is,” Sherman said.
Bush took responsibility for his crime early on, Sherman said, expressing sorrow for his actions.
“I have seen nothing but genuine remorse from him,” Sherman said.
Judge Rick Lawrence is expected to decide Bush’s sentence on Monday in 8th District Court in Lewiston.