LEWISTON — Nathan Evans, who was convicted of assaulting a Lewiston man in 2015, is seeking a pardon.

On Thursday morning, Evans told Maine’s Pardon Board that his criminal behavior does not represent who he is as a person and the conviction stands in the way of him finding adequate housing and providing for his two young children.

He has no other criminal history.

Evans pleaded no contest to aggravated assault in Androscoggin County Superior Court and was sentenced to a suspended five-year prison term for attacking a friend who he said stole his girlfriend’s cellphone. He was 21 years old at the time and had faced up to a year in jail under terms agreed to by prosecutors, but instead the judge handed down the suspended sentence and ordered Evans to serve three years on probation.

That probation period ended in 2019, and Evans — now 29 years old — is seeking a pardon, which would effectively make his conviction confidential to most, including landlords and employers. Police and certain other agencies would have access, but a pardoned conviction is not accessible to the general public.

Evans entered his plea on the aggravated assault charge the day before his trial was to begin, and as part of that process several other charges were dismissed, including a charge of elevated aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated assault and one charge of burglary.


After Thursday’s hearing, Evans told the Sun Journal that he hopes to become an example for the community “as someone who came here, got into a bad situation, although not necessarily a bad person, and you can get a second chance.”

“I have been trying to improve my situation and my way of life,” he said, and hopes to inspire people who go down a wrong path.

“If you come here, if you do get in trouble, it’s not the end of the world. You’re able to salvage your life and do well. I can be an advocate for that,” he said. “I hope to show, through my efforts, that I can be somebody they can look up to.”

According to court records, on Nov. 15, 2013, Cheryl Seaborne and her husband, Jermaine, were in their Main Street apartment in Lewiston when two men known to the couple came in and started assaulting Jermaine Seaborne. Cheryl Seaborne told police that Evans used a “shiny blue baseball bat” to beat her husband on his head and upper body.

Seaborne suffered a fractured skull and jaw, lost four teeth and received several stitches to his head and a hand.

On Thursday, Evans told the Pardon Board that it wasn’t a baseball bat, but a kitchen skillet, used in the assault.


Originally from Alabama, Evans’ petition for pardon lays out his tough upbringing by parents who struggled with addictions, and his eventual placement in foster care. He told the Pardon Board his life in Alabama was harsh, and that he’d never been in a fight before or since that night in 2013.

A standout football player as a teen, he moved to Lewiston to help his sister and attended Lewiston High School for one semester of his senior year, and then enrolled at Central Maine Community College in Auburn. He joined Volunteers for America and worked at a pizza shop to support his then-fiancé and their first child.

It was his fiancé’s phone that was the subject of the fight, Evans said, and since his conviction he’s worked to “reboot” his life. He started volunteering in the community, including at Good Shephard Food Bank, is attending automotive classes full-time at CMCC and has held a series of jobs that he said never paid well enough to provide for his family.

He is licensed as a barber and working at a barbershop in Lewiston.

Asked what career path he might choose if the pardon were granted, Evans said he was interested in pursuing military service or possibly security, or work in law enforcement.

“The conviction impacted me financially,” he told board members, with many employers rejecting job applications based on his criminal history. “I don’t want to be judged when I try to get ahead,” he said. “I’m just trying to have a better life. I’m trying to be a positive influence for my family and work toward a better future.”


As part of Evans’ conviction, he was ordered to pay $14,000 in restitution, and has struggled to pay that sum as he’s struggled to find employment. He estimated the balance is between $12,000 and $13,000, but he makes a point to pay $50 each month, and also devotes a good chunk of his federal tax refund each year.

Evans said part of the reason he wants to be pardoned is to be able to get a job that would enable him to pay that restitution, but members of the Pardon Board wondered whether a pardon would eliminate the requirement he pay the restitution, which is something that will have to be clarified before their deliberations, according to board Chairman Fernand LaRochelle.

Evans said he wasn’t asking for the restitution to be waived, and intended to pay it as ordered.

While Evans was at Lewiston High School, he attended Lewiston Academy, a program for at-risk youth which is taught by Bernie Fortier.

Fortier offered testimony to the board Thursday, as did his two adult sons.

According to Fortier, before Evans was sentenced he wrote a letter to the presiding judge asking him to spare Evans prison time, and he pleaded with the Pardon Board to approve Evans’ petition.


Evans is a “good, kind, thoughtful person,” Fortier said. “I strongly believe in redemption. I strongly believe in rehabilitation. Being a man of integrity is so important to” Evans, he said.

“I love Nate enormously. He’s like my fourth child,” Fortier said.

“As an educator” who has worked with 4,150 at-risk students through Lewiston Academy, Fortier said, “I believe in human potential and if he’s given a chance he can reach his potential.”

Evans has been invited to family events and holidays at the Fortier house for the past seven years, Fortier said, and when his mother-in-law was hospitalized and later moved to hospice, Evans would go sit with her and just hold her hand.

In addition to his testimony, Fortier wrote a letter to the board supporting the pardon, as did six other community members, including Fortier’s wife and his sons, Justin and Daniel.

Justin Fortier told board members that he was so touched when Evans sat with his grandmother, but he knows that “she wasn’t just our grandmother. She was his grandmother, too.”


He described Evans as a “gentle and thoughtful person,” and one who he enormously trusts.

Daniel Fortier said Evans “always has a positive can-do attitude,” despite his difficult early years.

“He had every reason to give up. To quit. And, yet, he never did,” Daniel Fortier said. “He’s a kind person who is always happy. Always finds a way to find the best in everything.”

Board member John Kelly questioned Evans about a protection order granted in Rhode Island, which had been filed by Evans’ former fiancé, who is the mother of their two children.

Evans said the order was granted after he missed a hearing on a temporary order because he went to the wrong court, but he and the mother co-parent their children. The adults arrange for Evans to pick up his children at a relative’s house rather than at the mother’s home, he said, so he has no contact with the mother.

In addition to the question of whether the order for restitution would sunset if a pardon were granted, LaRochelle told Evans that the board would have to research the question of whether five years had passed since the date of completion of Evans’ entire sentence, including any probation periods, as required by law to be eligible for pardon. Evans’ probation ended in 2019.

Evans told the Sun Journal that he understands the question about the date when his entire sentence had ended, but he is optimistic about the board’s review of his petition. “I wanted to prove myself to them, and we’ll see how it goes,” he said.

No one spoke in opposition to Evans’ petition.

If the board denies the petition, Evans is permitted to file again in one year.

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