AUBURN — A Turner woman was sentenced Friday to serve one year of an eight-year prison sentence for her role in a 2013 Lewiston home invasion in which she and another woman posed as city workers conducting a survey as a ploy to rob an apartment dweller.

Her four co-defendants, including two women, had already been sentenced.

Brandy N. Sylvester, 22, was sentenced to eight years in prison, but the judge suspended seven years of her sentence. She’ll serve two years of probation after her release.

Active-Retired Justice Donald Marden, who presided over the Androscoggin County Superior Court proceeding, said Sylvester would face many years in prison if she were to revert to her criminal ways of the past.

“I’m giving her the opportunity to do those things which she has indicated to the court are important,” he said: “To continue her education, which she can do on probation, be a mother to her child, which she can do on probation, and regain the respectability and hopefully, hopefully the self-worth, hopefully the strength and understanding of her own strengths and her own talents, her own abilities to put her serious psychological stresses behind her, put this crime behind her, put this addiction behind her and to start life anew.”

He said she has a “high likelihood” of success on probation.

Sylvester was indicted on six felony charges, including two assaults, burglary, theft and criminal threatening.

She had pleaded guilty earlier to assault and theft, each punishable by up to five years in prison, and burglary, which carried a maximum sentence of 10 years. Prosecutors dropped the other charges.

Prosecutors were seeking to have Sylvester serve two years in prison.

Sylvester won’t have to start serving her sentence until January. She will remain free on bail of $1,000 cash or $2,000 property.

In a written statement that she read in court, Sylvester, her voice breaking as she choked back sobs, apologized to those she hurt from her past actions.

The death of her father when she was 16 years old marked the start of her emotional decline and descent into drug and alcohol abuse, she said.

“Hurt, broken and lost, I began starving myself,” she said. She became a binge bulimic. After treatment for the eating disorder, she began drinking and “hanging around the wrong crowds,” she said.

Her stepfather mentally and physically abused her, which led her to abuse alcohol and drugs in an effort to compensate for her low self-esteem, she said.

“I was just running with the wind,” she said. “I never saw my family anymore. When I was involved in this terrible crime, I had no idea who I was anymore.”

Since she was charged and released, she has participated in long-term counseling, including substance-abuse therapy, she said.

During that period, she gave birth to a daughter, who is 6 months old now and has helped her maintain her sobriety, Sylvester said.

She also has been taking care of her grandmother, she said.

A certified chef, Sylvester said it has been frustrating not being able to work and earn an income. After her incarceration, she hopes to go to college, she said.

“If I am taken away, I truly feel as though I am being taken away from everything I put my heart into for building my life,” she said. She asked the judge to suspend her entire sentence.

The law requires defendants serve a mandatory one-year sentence on assaults involving firearms, Marden explained to Sylvester and her gathered family and friends on Friday.

Sylvester’s mother, grandmother and boyfriend, as well as others, including a social worker, testified, seeking leniency. They said the sober woman facing sentencing on Friday didn’t resemble the one described by the indictment charging her with crimes.

According to prosecutors, Sylvester helped plan the robbery by aiding in hatching a scheme to pose as survey takers for the city. Four of the defendants, including Sylvester, carried out the robbery at an apartment at 62 Shawmut St. One waited in a nearby vehicle and acted as lookout.

Police had written in an affidavit that one of the victims had been at home on the afternoon of Dec. 5, 2013, when he heard a knock on his apartment door. He had been holding his girlfriend’s infant son.

Two women at the door said they were from the city of Lewiston and were conducting a survey. He told them he wasn’t interested, but they continued knocking, so he put the baby on the couch and opened the door, partially because he works part time with city employees at Lewiston City Hall.

A man standing behind the women and to the side pointed a gun at the victim and forced his way into the apartment. The victim grabbed the gun to wrest it from the man, but a second man with a gun struck him on the back of the head with it, forcing him to the floor, according to the affidavit.

The two men wore bandannas over the lower parts of their faces, the victim told police. The women, including Sylvester were hooded but bare-faced as they entered the apartment.

The victim’s girlfriend came to the door, asking to be let in. The victim refused initially to open the door but opened it after one of the defendants threatened to harm the baby.

The two victims were kept on the floor. The men demanded the victims give them money. The male victim recognized one of the male defendants, he told police.

One of the female defendants struck the female victim on the back of the head with one of the guns. The male victim showed one of the defendants where the couple’s cash was hidden.

The couple was covered with a blanket — the female victim was given her baby — before the four defendants fled.

Others charged in this case were:

* Jeremy M. Bourgoin, 28, of Litchfield, who pleaded guilty to robbery, theft and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, all felonies. He was sentenced last month to 12 years in prison, with all but four years suspended, plus four years of probation.

* Nicholas Lowell, 26, of 48 Spring St., Lewiston, who pleaded guilty in May to robbery, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and theft. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison with all but six years suspended, plus four years of probation. Lowell had pending drug charges.

* Cortney Pearl, 23, of 38 Morissette Drive, Sabattus, who pleaded guilty to burglary, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, theft and criminal threatening, all felonies. She was sentenced to eight years in prison with all but two years suspended, plus two years of probation.

* Laura Mae Thenor, 29, of 6 Libby Ave. pleaded guilty to robbery, burglary and theft. She had stayed with the vehicle and served as lookout. She was sentenced to 10 years with all but four years suspended, plus three years probation.

During probation, Sylvester will be prohibited from having contact with the victims and her co-defendants. She also will be barred from having or using alcohol or illegal drugs and can be searched and tested for them at random.

She was ordered to pay $1,300 in restitution to the victims along with the co-defendants or separately.

Justice Marden wished Sylvester good luck. To her family and friends, he said: “Your support plays a huge role in her future.”

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