AUGUSTA — A Waterville man was ordered to serve an initial five months behind bars Thursday for domestic violence offenses that included throwing a rocking chair at his girlfriend and holding a knife to her throat.

Gary W. Howard, 39, was sentenced during a hearing at the Capital Judicial Center. The remainder of the three-year sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for two years.

He pleaded guilty to domestic violence terrorizing and domestic violence assault as well as a charge of violating a condition of release.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian, said Howard and the victim had been dating for 10 years and were living together when Howard came home intoxicated on March 30, 2016.

Tarpinian said the couple argued about that, and he held knife to the victim’s throat, threatening her, then threw a rocking chair at her that struck her in the head as she fled. The woman was treated at a hospital after the incident.

The violation of condition of release occurred June 18, 2016, when Howard was still in jail. Tarpinian said he made 10 phone calls to the victim on the jail’s recorded line. Howard was prohibited from contacting the woman.

Tarpinian said the woman wrote to the district attorney’s office, saying she wants to continue the relationship with Howard, and that there had been no incidents prior to that evening.

Judge Evert Fowle rejected the first proposed sentence, which would have put Howard behind bars for 2.5 months initially. Fowle said he would not approve a sentence with fewer than five months to serve initially.

“This conduct is not appropriate,” Fowle told Howard.

Thomas Tilton, the attorney representing Howard, said his client had a number of mental illness diagnoses and is usually compliant about his medications and does not drink. The incident occurred when Howard ran out of his medication, Tilton said.

Conditions of Howard’s probation require a mental health evaluation and counseling if needed.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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