Tuesday, December 10, 2013
By Betty Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA – The trial of David F. Dineen II, of Gardiner, ended abruptly this morning when he pleaded guilty to assault and domestic-violence assault and was placed on deferred disposition for two years.
The judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney agreed to the resolution after the woman who the state alleges was the victim of a two-day rampage by Dineen failed to come to court to testify, despite being subpoenaed by the state.
Dineen, 50, had been charged with three counts of aggravated assault and one count of domestic violence assault, all of which the state alleged occurred Oct. 11-13, 2012, in Kennebec and Penobscot counties. According to the prosecutor, the attack left the victim, Dineen’s longtime girlfriend and mother of his child, with fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, bruises and a stab wound in her thigh.
Jurors were told the couple was arguing after Dineen learned the woman apparently had been unfaithful.
On Thursday in Kennebec County Superior Court, as jurors waited in an adjacent room, Dineen pleaded guilty to stabbing the woman with scissors in Newport as he drove her and two children on Interstate 95 back to Gardiner from Penobscot County.
“If we could secure (the victim’s) appearance here, we would offer that evidence,” said Assistant District Attorney Joelle Pratt. She also told the judge the prosecution would incorporate testimony from witnesses who took the stand on Wednesday. Among them was a Randolph woman who helped the victim contact her mother, who then took her to the hospital.
In accepting Dineen’s pleas, Justice John Nivison said, “I do understand there is a self-defense justification that has been generated by some of the facts.”
Defense Attorney Walter McKee had said in his opening statement to jurors on Wednesday that the woman had attacked Dineen with the scissors as he was driving. The scissors apparently were thrown from the vehicle’s window and not recovered.
McKee also said the victim wrote a statement two weeks ago saying she had lied to authorities about the attack and actually suffered the injuries when she fell down the basement stairs while holding a laundry basket.
The case was continued for 24 months for sentencing. If Dineen successfully meets the requirements of the deferred disposition – completion of a certified batterers’ intervention program, domestic-violence court, anger management, and psychological evaluation and counseling – he can withdraw his guilty plea to the assault charge and it would be dismissed.
McKee and the state then would argue about the length of sentence on the domestic-violence assault conviction, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a two-year period of probation.
If Dineen fails to complete the requirements or commits a crime, then he could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine on the assault charge, the judge warned him.
Conditions of the deferred disposition include no contact with the victim except in the presence of an approved third party for purposes of child visits.
Pratt asked the judge to put on the record the victim’s failure to appear as subpoenaed.
As a result of the plea to the assault charge, two charges of aggravated assault were dismissed.
McKee said the plea agreement avoids the risk of conviction on all the charges and “gives David the opportunity to move forward and make things better.”
After the hearing, District Attorney Maeghan Maloney,said, “Frankly, if we had a cooperative victim, we would not have accepted a plea.”
She also said she did not plan at this point to charge the victim with failing to comply with the subpoena.
“I need to be convinced that will make a difference with being able to hold abusers acccountable, and I’m not convinced of that yet,” she said.
Maloney said it was important to secure Dineen’s conviction on the domestic-violence assault charge because that prohibits him from possessing firearms.Betty Adams — email@example.com