LEWISTON — A Buxton man who burned a dresser with a torch and destroyed a TV set pleaded guilty to two related charges Wednesday.

Chase Hunter, 23, appeared in 8th District Court where he entered guilty pleas to a felony charge of domestic violence criminal threatening and a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief.

Hunter entered an Alford plea on the felony charge, meaning he didn’t admit to the action that led to the charge, but understood that the evidence that could have been presented against him could have resulted in a guilty verdict.

On that charge, he was sentenced to five years in prison with all of that time suspended except for nine months and one day. He will be credited with the 67 days he’s spent behind bars. After his release from jail, he’ll be on probation for two years.

On the misdemeanor charge, he was sentenced to six months to be served at the same time as the felony.

Had the case gone to trial, Assistant District Attorney Katherine Bozeman said she would have presented witnesses who would have testified that on July 31, Hunter went to a Lisbon apartment where he lived with his then-girlfriend.

Hunter was upset and he argued with the victim. She went to her bedroom to call her mother, but Hunter went into that room with a butane torch and demanded she drop the call. When she didn’t, he held the flame of the torch to a chest of drawers in an effort to burn it, Bozeman said. Hunter also put the flame against a cup next to the bed.

The victim screamed for Hunter to leave, which he did, but only after shattering the screen of the television set. The victim was afraid for her safety and that of her children, ages 1 and 3, Bozeman said.

The victim’s mother called 911 to report the incident and an officer responded to the apartment, where her daughter was distraught.

Hunter turned himself in to police and admitted burning the dresser with a torch, explaining he had been seeking to get the victim’s attention.

After his release from jail, Hunter must attend and successfully complete a Batterers’ Intervention Program, be evaluated for substance abuse and engage in treatment by a professional.

He is barred from having contact with the victim.

The judge dismissed two Class A arson charges, each punishable by up to 30 years in prison. A charge of domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, was also dismissed by the judge.

Hunter has a prior conviction for domestic violence assault.

He will remain free on $1,500 cash bail until he turns himself in on Dec. 1 to serve his sentence, the judge said.

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Chase Hunter


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