AUBURN — A 30-year-old Poland man was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for a 2014 knife attack against his uncle that resulted in more than $64,000 in medical bills.

Phillip Audet, who was convicted of the Class B felony crime of aggravated assault by a jury in June, was sentenced by Androscoggin County Superior Court Active-Retired Justice Joyce Wheeler to an eight-year sentence with all but five years suspended and three years of probation.  

Wheeler also sentenced Audet to concurrent sentences for aggravated criminal mischief and unauthorized use of property convictions that stemmed from the same incident after Audet fled the stabbing scene in his uncle’s car.

Audet, who has six prior assault convictions in Maine and Massachusetts, stood shackled, wearing a light-blue prison uniform.

Prior to the sentence, Audet’s uncle, Steven Narbonne, addressed Wheeler, saying he continued to suffer physically and emotionally from his wounds and faced additional surgeries in January, provided his body heals enough by then.

“This is a life sentence for me, Phillip Audet, and you did this to me,” Narbonne said, reading from a prepared handwritten statement. “You’ve destroyed everything I worked so hard for, including my dignity, my self-esteem and hopes and dreams, and you have zero remorse. The worst part about this for me is not the pain and suffering or the wreckage of a horrible intentional crime, but the fact that you didn’t man up and admit your guilt and intention about that night.”

Narbonne said Audet instead chose “to shift the blame onto the real victim.”

Assistant District Attorney Lisa Bogue told Wheeler the state was in favor of an eight-year sentence for Audet with an additional four years for the aggravated criminal mischief conviction.

Bogue said Audet’s lengthy criminal record — including the other six assault convictions along with the fact that each time he had been placed on parole, he violated his parole conditions — made the state concerned for the safety of not only Audet’s family, but also for the public at large.

She asked Wheeler to sentence Audet to 10 years for the assault conviction with another four years for the aggravated criminal mischief conviction. 

But Audet’s attorney, Henry Griffin, asked for a lighter sentence and that the sentences be served concurrently. Griffin said Audet’s addiction and abuse of alcohol and drugs were the root of his problems and asked Wheeler to consider that as a mitigating factor.

Griffin said Audet didn’t intentionally try to wound his uncle and leave him for dead, nor did he fully understand the extent of his uncle’s wounds.

“There was no intention there,” Griffin said. “He didn’t mean to leave his uncle there bleeding and half-dead. When he left he thought his uncle’s arm had been injured. He cut his uncle’s arm, he saw the blood and he fled because he had had 40 drinks that night and was not thinking properly.” 

Audet’s convictions stem from a July 6, 2014, incident at Narbonne’s Torrey Road home in Poland, where Audet had been staying. The two men had been drinking since 4 p.m. and continued at a bar until it closed at 1 a.m. They returned to Narbonne’s house, where the stabbing occurred in the kitchen.

Audet fled the home in Narbonne’s car, which he abandoned along the Maine Turnpike in Gray after ruining the transmission.

Police traced him to a wooded area in Portland through his cellphone, and a police dog led them to his hiding place.

For his part, Audet apologized to his uncle, saying he lived every day with remorse and was truly sorry. But he also reiterated his position that Narbonne had attacked him first.

“I didn’t know you were hurt as bad as you were,” Audet said. “You had just attacked me. I was scared and I took off and I shouldn’t have.”

But in her sentencing comments, Wheeler reminded Audet he was the person wielding a weapon and his uncle was the one who ended up critically wounded.

“You had the knife,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said her sentence was aimed at ensuring Audet would be able to get the help he needed to overcome his addiction and substance-abuse problems.

“The fact that I send you to prison doesn’t mean I am not intent on helping you,” Wheeler said after noting that Audet only asked for two things Friday: his uncle’s forgiveness and help with his addiction problems.

“I am intent on making sure that there is a structure in your life, including prison, that gives you the time and space to make the recovery that you need to make in order to achieve any likelihood of your uncle forgiving you,” Wheeler said.

She also noted that forgiveness was unlikely so quickly — if at all — and would never come without Audet first addressing fully his substance-abuse issues.

“It will only come after you are able to demonstrate to him that you have indeed changed your way of living,” she said.

Wheeler also ordered Audet to pay restitution for his uncle’s medical expenses as well as $8,000 to the uncle’s auto insurance company, which covered the cost of his destroyed vehicle.

Upon completion of his prison sentence in Maine, which would be in about four years, Audet faces additional jail time in Massachusetts for violations of his parole there.

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“He cut his uncle’s arm, he saw the blood and he fled because he had had 40 drinks that night and was not thinking properly.” – Henry Griffin, Audet’s defense attorney.