AUBURN — A judge sentenced a Lewiston woman Monday to 15 months in jail for attacking her then-boyfriend with a hammer last year because he was “lazy.”
Androscoggin County Superior Court Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford sentenced Crystal Foss, 34, of 242 Park St. to eight years in prison, but suspended most of that time because Foss had no criminal history and had been plagued by longtime family abuse and mental health problems, including several psychiatric hospitalizations, he said.
Foss pleaded guilty in January to Class B aggravated assault and had been facing up to 10 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis was seeking to have Foss serve three years in prison for the “horrific attack.”
Defense attorney Henry Griffin said keeping Foss behind bars any longer than one year wasn’t necessary; she’s already served nine months in jail.
Foss’ mother, Sandra, offered to have her daughter live with her after her release, she told Clifford.
Matulis showed the judge a slide of a large claw hammer with a blue and yellow handle, calling it a “deadly” weapon. Foss told police she had struck Charles Bradrick with the tool on the afternoon of April 5, Matulis said. She told police she didn’t care whether the victim died from the attack.
Lewiston police officer Tyler Martin said Foss had shown “very little emotion,” when he questioned her at the scene of the attack.
Matulis also projected on a screen in court a photo of the victim, Charles Bradrick, lying in bed, his pillow stained with blood from multiple head wounds.
Bradrick suffered a large bruise in the rib area where Foss apparently kicked him after he fell, and multiple lacerations to his head along his hairline, Matulis said. The four head wounds took 10 staples to close, he said.
Bradrick hadn’t threatened Foss physically or verbally, Foss told police.
The attack had been unprovoked, Matulis said. The two had been in a domestic relationship.
Foss had a history of abusing alcohol and illegal drugs, including methamphetamine, Matulis said.
Griffin said his client hadn’t been taking her medications, making her mentally unstable at the time of the attack.
Foss’ history includes being the victim of a sexual assault when she was a minor and brain damage during birth, he said.
Griffin didn’t quibble with the facts of the attack.
“Mental health had everything to do with this case,” he said.
But Griffin said the court’s focus should be on how to keep Foss in a stable mental state going forward.
She “clearly needs” mental health treatment, he said.
“Rehabilitation is a big factor here,” he said.
If Foss complies with terms of her three-year probation included in Clifford’s sentence Monday, that “seriously diminishes the public safety aspect of this going forward,” he said.
Conditions of her probation will include:
• No use or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs, subject to random search;
• Limited contact with Bradrick, at his consent;
• Undergoing substance abuse evaluation and treatment;
• Living with her mother;
• Taking all prescribed medications; and
• Undergoing managed treatment with an intensive community-based outpatient program with a team of providers that support MaineCare-eligible adults with a major mental illness diagnosis and any co-occurring disorders.
Foss read a statement to the court Monday: “I just wanted to say how truly sorry I am for my actions that day.”
She said she promised that she would live with her mother “and get the help I need.”
Although her attorney had urged her to take her case to trial, she said “my conscience told me not to because I had done wrong.”
Clifford said he believed Foss was remorseful when she was in a stable frame of mind.
Bradrick also urged the court to put Foss on the path to recovery rather than punishment.
“She did wind up attacking me, but I don’t blame her for attacking me,” he said. “I blame her for not taking her meds.”
Clifford said the result of Foss’ crime could have had far greater consequences.
“I wish her the best in the future because this is a very serious offense,” he said. She came “very close to causing more serious longtime effects than she actually did.”