AUGUSTA — A Howland man is serving an initial four years behind bars after pleading guilty to aggravated assault in an incident in which he held a box cutter to his girlfriend’s throat and threatened to kill her.

Steven James Theriault, 28, formerly of Brewer, was sentenced Thursday during a hearing at the Capital Judicial Center to an eight-year term, with half suspended and three years of probation.

He also pleaded guilty to terrorizing in connection with the same incident, which occurred Sept. 15, 2016, in Albion, and was witnessed by the woman’s four children.

In exchange for the pleas, charges of domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and criminal mischief from the same day were dismissed.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney, whose office prosecuted the case, said Tuesday that she was pleased with a “substantial prison sentence for a frightening domestic violence case.”

“We have a domestic violence unit in order to give these cases the extra attention they require, and this sentence reflects that commitment,” Maloney said. “Domestic violence is not tolerated.”

In an affidavit filed with the court, Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputy Toby Pond said he was called to Inland Hospital in Waterville, where Theriault’s girlfriend had gone for treatment.

Pond said the woman said Theriault had become angry the previous night because the children were up so late. When he began to throw things around and demand phones, she ran to a neighbor’s home to get help. Pond wrote that Theriault found her on the neighbor’s steps and dragged her home before she could ask for help.

Pond said the woman told him Theriault held a box cutter to her throat, choked her and slapped her five times. Pond also said he had a sawed-off shotgun with seven bullets.

Theriault’s attorney, Brad Grant, said he opted to plead guilty rather than go to trial.

“He wanted to accept responsibility and save the victim and her family the anxiety and stress of having to testify,” Grant said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams