AUGUSTA — A former Winthrop man on Monday successfully completed a special court program in Augusta and was sentenced on “the best-case scenario” for committing a series of burglaries, including at one home and five businesses, and related thefts.

Jed Ian St. Hilaire, 38, now of Augusta, won praise Monday at a session of the Co-Occurring Disorders and Veterans Court at the Capital Judicial Center, and now will not have to spend more time behind bars.

“My life was drugs,” St. Hilaire said. He told the judge he grew up in Winthrop where he played sports and that things happened after he got out of the military, including the suicide of his oldest brother. St. Hilaire said he got into “very, very heavy drug use” and everything went down hill.

St. Hilaire said his turn-around moment occurred during a 42-day rehabilitation program in Brockton, Massachusetts.

“I realized I had a chance,” he said. “People cared. I had help, and I was able to get help.”

St. Hilaire thanked the court, mentors and others who helped him.

He told other participants in the program, who watching the hearing, “Stay the course and do the next right thing.”

His attorney, Brad Grant, credited St. Hilaire for initiating the process to get into the specialty court program, and St. Hilaire’s parents.

“It’s been all Jed and his family,” Grant said. “I’m so proud of what he’s done.”

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney David Spencer, said St. Hilaire had “a horrendous substance abuse problem” but later came to understand the problems and what to do about it.

“My impression is he is extremely motivated to never get back to (drugs),” Spencer said, adding that St. Hilaire has a good job on the coast and loves spending time with his children.

Judge Eric Walker imposed the sentence that had been agreed upon if St. Hilaire successfully completed the program: an initial 253 days in jail — with credit for 253 days served, and the remainder of the eight-year prison term suspended while he spends three years on probation.

He had pleaded guilty to the offenses in January 2016 when he entered the specialty court program.

He was also ordered to pay a total of $3,800 restitution, most of it to businesses in Winthrop that had been burglarized in April 2015, and some for a theft from an Augusta home burglarized in October 2011. While he was being held on the burglary charges, he was linked to the earlier burglary as a result of DNA tests on blood that police had collected at the scene.

St. Hilaire had been on probation for a robbery and theft involving March 2013 purse-snatchings in Augusta. At the time, he told police he needed the cash to buy cocaine and that “he had been shooting up cocaine for the past several days straight,” according to a court affidavit by Augusta Police Detective Jason Cote.

For the probation violation, St. Hilaire was sentenced to a concurrent 253 days and that probation was terminated.

After the hearing, St. Hilaire came over to thank Anne Archibald, veterans justice outreach coordinator at VA Maine Healthcare Systems-Togus for helping him.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]ntralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams