Rumford man sentenced in cane attack on Jay woman

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FARMINGTON — A Rumford man was found guilty Tuesday of hitting a Jay woman with a metal cane, causing a wound that required 14 stitches to close. The incident happened on Dec. 31, 2017.

Justice Robert Mullen sentenced Ronald E. Tarckini, 66, to four years in prison with all but 264 days suspended and four years of probation at the Franklin County Superior Court. Tarckini has already served 264 days at the Franklin County Detention Center.

A condition of probation is that he is not be in Franklin County, Deputy District Attorney James Andrews said.

Tarckini, who used a walker to get to the microphone and leaned on a railing, pleaded no contest to a felony charge of aggravated assault. He had previously pleaded not guilty.

No contest means he doesn’t admit wrongdoing but acknowledges that a jury could find him guilty. 

A conviction on the charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

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The plea deal dismissed misdemeanor charges of refusing to submit to arrest and a criminal attempt.

If the matter had gone to trial, Andrews said Debra Therrien would testify that Tarckini was staying at her house temporarily and was verbally arguing with her. She would testify that Tarckini struck her on the head with a metal cane and she lost consciousness. She was taken to a hospital and had 14 stitches to close the wound. She also had bruises on her body, including her back, Andrews said.

Testimony would have also been heard that Tarckini continued to strike her with the cane while she was unconscious, Andrews said.

Therrien dialed 911 but doesn’t remember doing it, he said.

Jay police officer Dylan Rider would testify that when he arrived at the house, Therrien was covered in blood and bleeding heavily. Rider followed blood spatters to a room where Tarckini was eventually taken into custody.

Tarckini’s attorney, George Hess, said his client wanted the plea to get out of jail but he is willing to go forward to trial.

Therrien told the court that Tarckini should not be given a plea deal at the risk of her safety. 

It was a “vicious attack,” Therrien said, and in her opinion the charge should have been “attempted murder.” He is “dangerous and unpredictable,” she said.

Mullen said he understood why Therrien wanted to speak and understood her concerns. 

Tarckini has three years and 101 days to serve if he violates his probation, he said, and he wouldn’t be looking at a partial revocation.

The state crafted a pretty stringent agreement that Tarckini has to follow during probation, Mullen said.

Neither the state nor the defense are pleased with agreement, Mullen said.

“It is a compromise,” he said. It also takes into account the state and defense weaknesses in the case, he said.

There was also a significantly complex issue of competency that was also resolved, Mullen said. 

Andrews said Tarckini had a nonviolent criminal record of theft and negotiating worthless instruments committed more than 20 years ago.

The prior testimony from a psychological evaluator raised some issues, he said, including Tarckini having a fragmented memory,  repeated falls and medical issues, Andrews said.   

There would also need to be pretty extensive accommodations by the court and trial counsel for a trial to ensure Tarckini’s trial rights are preserved, he said.

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Ronald Tarckini (Franklin County Detention Center)

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