AUGUSTA — A prosecutor on Monday wanted Tracy L. Fleischer to spend a decade behind bars for attacking her husband with a knife in a jealous rage when he walked in the door from work and continued to stab him while she drove him to the hospital.
Her estranged husband suggested two years of initial incarceration.
Ultimately, Justice Harold Stewart II ordered Tracy Fleischer, 35, of Augusta to serve an initial four years in prison with the remainder of the 12-year sentence suspended and four years’ probation.
Tracy Fleischer previously had pleaded guilty to charges of elevated aggravated assault for the stabbing at home and aggravated assault for the stabbing in the vehicle, both of which occurred March 4, 2016, in Augusta.
The judge also noted as part of the sentencing hearing at the Capital Judicial Center that the stabbings capped a long history of marital problems between the couple and records indicated that Fleischer had stabbed her husband in June 2015, but there was no criminal conviction from that.
Stewart outlined the series of events that began with Fleischer — who was suffering from mental illness — becoming increasingly suspicious that her husband was unfaithful.
He said that on March 4, 2016, she believed her suspicions were confirmed.
“You became enraged. You then went out and bought a knife,” the judge said, citing a history of problems with knives which is why there was only a paring knife in the home.
“Just prior to your husband returning home, you gave some instruction to your daughter to the leave home or go to her room. You were encouraging her to be out of house. When he returned home, you immediately began yelling accusations of infidelity and stabbing him in the torso.”
Stewart said the victim suffered a collapsed lung. The daughter, then 13, pulled the man from the home.
Then the second stabbing resulted on the ride to MaineGeneral Medical Center when the victim refused her access to his cellphone.
“He wasn’t cooperating, most likely due to injuries, and you stabbed him in the leg for the second assault,” Stewart said, adding that the victim jumped from the vehicle at the hospital.
“What strikes the court is that this was certainly purposeful conduct,” Stewart said. “We all can imagine what would have occurred if (the stabbing incident in) 2015 had been fully prosecuted. The sanctions, it strikes me, would have been far less than you’re facing today.”
He added, “The message to society — and we hope it gets out there — we hope that when people are having problems, it gets reported and people get help.”
The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian, who asked that Fleischer serve an initial 10 years in prison, sought and received conditions of probation that require Fleischer to get mental health treatment and prevent Fleischer from contact with the victim, although the judge said he would permit Tracy Fleischer to write letters to her children.
The Fleischers are in divorce proceedings.
The victim walked into the courtroom midway through the hearing, and Tracy Fleischer’s attorney, Kevin Sullivan, read an email he had received early Monday from the victim.
“It’s been a year since I was attacked,” the victim wrote. “It was a tough year for my family.”
He said that his wife has always struggled with mental illness but always took pride in caring for her children.
“I beg you to take into consideration the circumstances that led to this tragic event,” he wrote. He asked for her to serve two years for the offense and have strict probation conditions.
“The kids and I are victims of domestic violence caused by mental illness,” he said.
The husband has custody of the couple’s two children, ages 4 and 8, and Tracy Fleischer’s older daughter, now 14, is living with her father in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“I did this, and I made a costly mistake,” Tracy Fleischer said prior to turning around in the courtroom to talk to her husband directly, apologizing for causing him pain and suffering.
“I apologize to my children who have to live without a mother and each other,” she said.
She also thanked her family members and former co-workers for their support.
Sullivan pointed out Fleischer’s mother and cousin who were sitting with the friends, many of them dabbing at their eyes with tissues as the sentencing hearing proceeded.
Two of Tracy Fleischer’s co-workers at Riverview Psychiatric Center, Jodi French and Shelby Moreau, addressed the judge, saying Fleischer had talked of problems with her home life, but she was kind and compassionate at work and cared for her children.
They said they would help her when she was released.
As Tracy Fleischer walked in shackles from the courtroom, she blew kisses to about eight family members and friends who came to support her. Fleischer has been held in jail in lieu of bail since her arrest on the day of the stabbing.
Betty Adams — 621-5631