AUGUSTA — A Waterville man was ordered to spend 18 months behind bars for assaulting his girlfriend with a remote control, cutting her above her left eye.

Richard E. Rice, 49, pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to domestic violence assault, a felony offense because he had a previous conviction for domestic violence assault in 2012.

Rice was scheduled for a jury trial that day before changing his plea.

He was sentenced during a hearing Friday at the Capital Judicial Center.

Justice William Stokes imposed a 42-month sentence, ordering Rice to serve an initial 18 months, and then suspending the remainder and placing him on probation for two years.

Rice’s attorney, Lisa Whittier, argued for an underlying 18-month sentence, with Rice having to spend only an initial five months behind bars, the length of time he has been held on the charge.

The state, through Assistant District Attorney David Spencer, argued that Rice should spend four years in prison for the offense.

The victim testified at the hearing. Initially the woman told police she was unsure whether he had thrown the remote control at her or whether he was holding it in his hand and struck her with it on March 18. She said he had been drinking prior to the incident.

The woman, who was treated at Inland Hospital and received seven stitches to close the cut above her eye, initially did not want to press charges, according to an affidavit by a Waterville police officer. Investigators also found pieces of the remote control near the bed.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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