Phillips man pleads guilty to assaulting partner

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FARMINGTON — A Phillips man pleaded guilty Thursday to hitting his domestic partner’s head against a wall and choking her Feb. 4 at a residence they shared in Wilton.

Joel Thompson, 43, entered guilty pleas to a Class B charge of aggravated assault and a Class D charge of domestic violence assault in Franklin County Superior Court.

The state dismissed a Class A charge of gross sexual assault and a Class E charge of violating conditions of release in the negotiated plea agreement.

A conviction on a Class B charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. A Class D charge is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Thompson was indicted on all four charges this past spring. 

He also pleaded guilty in a separate case to a Class D charge of operating under the influence.

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If the matter went to trial, Deputy District Attorney James Andrews said the victim would have testified that they had been drinking heavily on that day and had argued. Thompson struck her head against a wall and put his hands around her neck and applied pressure that left her unable to breathe, he said. 

She was able to flee to her father’s residence and police were called.

The victim would have testified that she fought back and hit Thompson during the altercation and punched him in the eye.

Wilton police would have testified that the victim had bruises on her neck, arms and back. Police would also testify that Thompson was found at the couple’s residence and his face was covered in blood and his eye was nearly swelled shut and he had scratches on his hand.

Andrews said the recommended sentence is five years in prison with all but one year suspended followed by four years of probation.

He said the victim indicated she is not seeking Thompson’s incarceration and wants him to repair his life. It appears substance abuse played a role in the event, he said.

The couple has a child together.

Defense attorney Paul Corey said the plea agreement takes into account the woman’s wishes and issues with some of the state’s evidence.

Andrews said the victim admitted to drinking and while she clearly remembers some parts of what happened, some memories are not clear.

Part of the sentence recommendation is calculated on Thompson not having a substantial criminal record, he said.

Judge Maria Woodman asked Thompson if he had ever been convicted of a felony.

“No,” he said.

Corey said Thompson has been on house arrest with stringent bail conditions. The state has also taken into consideration the hard work he has done, he said.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is involved.

Sentencing was delayed to Feb. 7 to allow a parental rights and responsibility matter to be resolved, Corey said.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

Joel Thompson (Franklin County Detention Center)

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