BANGOR — A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a 22-year-old Augusta man to seven years in prison, saying the community needed a break from him and his criminal doings.

Dominic J. Pomerleau had pleaded guilty in February to robbery and attempted robbery for holding up two Rite Aid pharmacies within 20 minutes last Sept. 2 in Augusta.

While his mother and his stepfather pleaded with the judge for leniency for Pomerleau, U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock called him a “one-man crime spree” almost from his mid-teens, saying he had “a horrendous criminal history.”

Woodcock said the crimes were getting more frequent and more violent and that Pomerleau was spending more and more time in jail every year.

Woodcock said Pomerleau’s family and others picture the ideal man rather than reality.

During the sentencing hearing Wednesday, several people, including Woodcock, referred to Pomerleau’s history as a drug addict beginning about age 15 and continuing through the morning after the robberies.

That was when his two codefendants, Lance M. Szady and Nichole Breton, found him lying unresponsive half inside a closet with his lips purple, his eyes filmed over. They took him to MaineGeneral Medical Center, where he was treated for the next week for opiate poisoning that almost killed him.

Pomerleau, with short dark hair and a short-sleeved navy T-shirt, came into the courtroom Wednesday in shackles. Once the handcuffs were removed, he waved to about a dozen family members and friends who sat on benches behind the defense table. Tattoos on Pomerleau’s neck, forearm and upper arm were visible. Investigators say victims’ descriptions of those tattoos were helpful in identifying Pomerleau as a suspect.

Pomerleau, who grew up in Sidney and more recently lived in neighboring Augusta, told the judge he attended school until about 10th grade. His attorney, James Nixon, said Pomerleau earned a General Educational Development diploma in 2011.

Nixon said Pomerleau started using marijuana about age 12 and became addicted to cocaine at 15, moving on to heroin at 16.

“He was high before the robbery, during the robbery and near death afterward,” Nixon said. “Mr. Pomerleau’s raging addiction cannot be ignored.”

He said Pomerleau had no contact with his father, also an addict, until about age 10 and then lost him to a car crash two years later.

Assistant U.S. Attorney F. Todd Lowell outlined the government’s case against Pomerleau, saying, “He terrorized innocent people with the threat of a gun.”

Lowell said Pomerleau was “a nightmare” to people just trying to do their jobs.

Woodcock noted that Pomerleau had never held a job except for several days at a fast-food restaurant and at a call center, and that a protective order prevents him from contact with his former girlfriend and their baby daughter.

“I look at you and I look at the family behind you and I wonder what happened,” Woodcock said. “You have failed to become a productive member of society.”

Pomerleau offered apologies during the 90-minute hearing.

“I would like to apologize to my family for what I put them through,” he said, adding that he wanted to apologize to the pharmacists as well. “They didn’t deserve what I put them through.”

His mother, Chantal Levesque, of Scarborough, told the judge she loves her son unconditionally and said his presence was sorely missed after his 17-year-old stepbrother died Dec. 21, 2014.

“What I ask, your honor, is for leniency in Dominic’s sentence,” Levesque said. “I ask for mercy so I can see my son.”

She said she knows he can become a better person.

Levesque said she was with him while he was recovering in the intensive care unit at the Augusta hospital.

“I thank God for giving my son a second chance,” she said.

Woodcock said Pomerleau needed time away to consider the impact he has had on his own community.

“The people you victimized are the people of central Maine, the people in the community where your daughter is going to grow up,” Woodcock said, outlining some of Pomerleau’s convictions for assault, including one involving his drug dealer; his speeding at 80 mph through a construction zone, endangering workers, police and motorists; as well as his burglaries and thefts from homes and motor vehicles.

He cited 23 arrests and convictions of Pomerleau since May 24, 2007.

“You need a substantial break from the life you’ve been living. I think you need time out away from drugs and away from druggies and drug dealers and the thrill of addiction,” Woodcock said. “You need time to consider where you’re going and time to change it. I also think, Mr. Pomerleau, that Augusta needs a break from you.”

Woodcock ordered Pomerleau to pay restitution of $1,076.79 and said Szady and Breton would be ordered to contribute to it as well.

Szady, of Gardiner, pleaded guilty in February to interference with commerce by robbery and is in federal custody awaiting sentencing.

Szady drove Pomerleau to the pharmacies.

Breton, of Chelsea, who pleaded guilty in February to being an accessory after the fact to a pharmacy robbery, is in federal custody awaiting sentencing. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Breton was a passenger in Szady’s car. She also emptied pills from the bottles and threw the bottles and caps out of the car, and the three spent the night at her home.

Woodcock ordered Pomerleau’s 84-month sentence to be followed by three years of supervised release, during which he will be required to get a job or do community service, undergo treatment for substance abuse, and be subject to frequent drug testing to ensure he remains substance-free.

Pomerleau exited the courtroom to a chorus of “I love you, Dominic,” from family and friends.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams