AUGUSTA — A city woman pleaded unsuccessfully with a judge Tuesday for a shorter jail term so she could avoid disrupting the lives of her children, ages 4 and 7.

Catherine Ann Gerry, 28, of Augusta, told Justice Joseph Jabar that she had turned her life around, volunteered at a secondhand clothing closet run by a church, accessed services for herself and children through the Department of Health and Human Services and was on a better path. Gerry had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to charges of assault, criminal trespass, unlawful possession of heroin, and three counts of violating conditions of release, all occurring June 27- Aug. 29, 2015, in Augusta.

“I have chosen to hang out with not the greatest people in the world,” she said during the hearing at the Capital Judicial Center. “I have made bad choices in the past. I am trying as hard as I can to change.”

Gerry wanted to avoid spending six months behind bars, the period of incarceration sought by the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Kate Marshall.

Marshall said Gerry and two of her friends climbed through a window to get into a Ridge Road residence where Gerry’s ex-boyfriend was and were confronted by his new girlfriend, who was holding a rifle.

Marshall told the judge that the woman put the rifle down after Gerry told her, “I just want to talk.” Then Gerry and her two friends attacked the woman, Marshall said, giving the judge photos of the victim’s arms, shoulders and lower back, saying she had been punched, kicked and bitten.

“This was precipitated by the defendant,” Marshall said.

She said the attack ended when the boyfriend pointed a handgun at Gerry, and the three left. The heroin was found in Gerry’s kitchen later during a bail check. Gerry said it was not hers, that someone had left it there and she had forgotten about it.

Gerry’s defense attorney, Stephen Bourget, argued that 14 days in jail would send a message to Gerry about her behavior and that her felony conviction for unlawful possession of heroin would follow her for the rest of her life.

“What Catherine has done is turned her life around,” he said.

Bourget said she was raising her children alone because one of the fathers was dead and the other in jail. He said Gerry had been invited to the home and that she entered through the window because the door was not functioning.

“At one point she was involved in a fracas,” Bourget said. “The other two women helped break it up.”

Under a plea agreement reached earlier between the two sides, the full sentence was to be three years in jail, with up to a maximum of six months to be served initially and the remainder suspended, followed by two years of probation.

In the end, Jabar split the difference, ordering her to serve 80 days initially. She also was fined $700.

“I don’t believe that 14 days would really impact you,” he said. “You need to feel the consequences so in the future you understand you can’t get away with this type of conduct.”

He imposed the sentence after reading the text message exchanged between Gerry and her former boyfriend on June 27, 2015, the night of the assault.

“This was a dangerous situation with guns being involved,” he said, adding that “it was a miracle” that no one was shot.

Gerry’s actions since her arrest weren’t enough, Jabar said. “Conduct has consequences,” he said.

He granted a stay at the defense request, so Gerry could arrange care for her children, and ordered her to report to jail in February.

Several other people were sentenced Tuesday in separate hearings at the Capital Judicial Center:

• Stephano Augustin, 39, of Phillips, unlawful trafficking in cocaine Sept. 9, 2014, in Augusta; four-year jail sentence, all but six months suspended, two years of probation, $400 fine.

• Christopher Hardison, 32, of Augusta, domestic violence assault Aug. 2, 2015, and criminal mischief June 30, 2015, both in Augusta; three-year jail sentence, all but nine months suspended, two years of probation, $100 restitution.

• Frederick Harry Horne Jr., 21, of Gardiner, unlawful possession of scheduled drugs Sept. 22, 2015, and violating condition of release Nov. 7, 2015, both in Gardiner; four-day jail sentence, $400 fine.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

 


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