AUGUSTA — For being the getaway driver in a strong-arm robbery that left an 82-year-old woman crawling to her car, and for cashing checks found in the stolen purse, Star Marie Black will spend an initial two years behind bars.

Black, 24, of Augusta, pleaded guilty Thursday at the Capital Judicial Center to a host of charges that occurred March 12 through April 18, 2016, in Augusta.

The charges included hindering apprehension or prosecution of Tyler Reece, who is accused of robbing Bessie Goudreau, of Augusta, in the parking lot of the Hannaford supermarket on Cony Street.

Justice Joyce Wheeler sentenced Black to five years in prison, with all but the first two suspended, followed by three years of probation. That sentence follows a seven-month sentence for a series of theft, forgery and misuse of identification charges. Black has spent the last seven months in jail.

Goudreau, now 83, spoke to the judge during the hearing Thursday, telling her what happened when her purse was grabbed and she was shoved to the ground on April 18, 2016.

“I was struck down at Hannaford,” Goudreau said. “And I couldn’t walk because of my left leg. I had to crawl to my car. Finally a customer heard me.”

The customer ran into Hannaford to get help for her.

“I was dazed for a while,” Goudreau said. “I had to shake my head a couple of times.”

She was left with a gash on her head that bled heavily and a fractured pelvis.

Goudreau spent four days in the hospital, and then her sister moved in with Goudreau to help care for her while she recovered. Her sister accompanied her to the court hearing as well.

“When I go out at night, I look everywhere to make sure that no one’s lurking around,” Goudreau said. “I don’t feel safe.”

Goudreau said she learned that just hours after the attack, Black had gone to Kmart and made out one of Goudreau’s check to herself for $300 and cashed it.

More checks were cashed around the region — with Black saying they were from her grandmother and producing Goudreau’s identification cards — until Goudreau’s sister went to the bank and canceled all of Goudreau’s checks.

Goudreau said her Social Security check had just been deposited into her account, and she had planned to use it for rent, her car payment and other living expenses.

After this incident, she said she was harassed by bill collectors demanding money until she could get letters from her bank and the police explaining the circumstances.

Black apologized to Goudreau, to the family and to the court, saying that her drug addiction made her do it.

She said she had been addicted to heroin since age 20 and now has been sober for past seven months.

“Now I must deal with reality without a crutch,” Black said. She told the judge that she is no longer Reece’s girlfriend.

“I’ve given him up,” she said.

She said she had been through two out-patient treatment programs for substance abuse.

Black said she had overdosed about 10 times on heroin, and her attorney, Lisa Whittier, said Black had been taken by ambulance to the hospital more than once for overdose treatment.

The attorney also said Black did not know that Reece had knocked down Goudreau and stolen her purse until he got into the vehicle Black was driving, told her to drive off and threatened to punch her.

“I’m just asking the court to take mercy on Ms. Black because of her young age and her acceptance of responsibility,” Whittier said. “The time hanging over her head is considerable, as well as time on probation.”

Whittier recommended the sentence that the judge imposed.

Black used a tissue to wipe her eyes as Whittier spoke.

Charges remain pending against Reece, and Whittier told the judge he is in an in-patient substance abuse program.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Tyler LeClair, argued for a sentence of seven years on the hindering of apprehension charge, with Black to serve an initial four years and the remaining three suspended, followed by three years of probation. He asked for a year for the other theft-related crimes.

He outlined an offense by Black on March 19, 2016, saying she and Reece knocked on the door of a neighbor, Priscilla Stevens, 85, saying they were locked out of their apartment and were waiting for the landlord to arrive to let them in.

LeClair said that when they left, Stevens learned her checkbook and gift cards were missing, as well as credit cards.

The cards and checks were used later by Black and Reece at Wal-Mart, with their images caught on camera, LeClair said.

He also said Black stole five checks from her great-uncle on March 12, 2016, and wrote them to herself, to Reece and to a roommate for a total of $1,050, and bank surveillance footage showed the couple cashing the checks.

Wheeler said she was rejecting the sentence recommended by the prosecutor “because I weigh more heavily toward treatment when drug addiction is involved. We don’t want any more Ms. Groudreaus or Ms. Stevenses becoming victims of your addiction.”

Wheeler said she believed the sentence imposed will allow Black to receive inpatient treatment in the Women’s Center at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.

“I encourage you to make the best out of what I see as an opportunity,” Wheeler told her. “Your 4-year-old child deserves to have you get clean and sober.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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