FARMINGTON — A Jay man pleaded guilty Thursday in Franklin County Superior Court to furnishing a usable amount of marijuana to two teenagers.

James Ouellette, 46, entered an Alford plea, which is based on a defendant’s belief that he is not guilty but thinks that based on the evidence or other considerations a plea bargain is the best thing to do.

He also pleaded guilty, in a Alford plea, to a misdemeanor charge domestic violence assault in a separate case.

In the plea agreement with the state, a felony charge of aggravated furnishing of scheduled drugs and misdemeanor charges of operating under the influence and violating conditions of release were dismissed.

Defense attorney Walter Hanstein told the court that Ouellette chose to enter the pleas because he understands that a jury could find him guilty based on some initial statements made to police. One of the victims recanted some statements made to police in June and Ouellette also didn’t want to put the person through a trial, he said.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Robinson said if the case went to trial victims would testify they were given marijuana by Ouellette.

Justice Michaela Murphy accepted the guilty pleas and delayed sentencing for a year. Ouellette will need to follow an agreement and if he does he will be able to withdraw his plea to the felony charge and plead to a misdemeanor charge of furnishing. If he is not successful, he will face five years in prison.

He is scheduled to return to court Jan. 30, 2015.

After court, Hanstein said “Mr. Ouellette gave up a very strong defense to enter a guilty plea in this furnishing case, and he did so primarily because that defense would have required two teenagers to have to testify in this matter — something he was adamant from the beginning he wanted to avoid. I think the state has recognized that Jim has taken significant steps to ensure he will continue to be a very productive member of our community, and this is reflected in the fact that at the end of this deferment period that he will just need to pay a fine on one misdemeanor conviction.”

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