AUGUSTA — Karla Lilley repeatedly tapped her left eyeball, eliciting a hard, almost hollow noise, as she described the attack 15 months ago that left her blind in that eye.

She was the victim of an aggravated assault by Terrence N. Townes.

And for that attack, Townes, 49, of Bangor, was sentenced Wednesday to an initial 12 years in prison, with the remainder of the 25-year sentence suspended while he spends four years on probation.

The 59-year-old Lilly, property manager at 53 Water St. in Augusta, was trying to get Townes to leave the premises on Oct. 24, 2016.

On Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center, Justice Michaela Murphy outlined what she concluded happened that day when Townes refused to leave.

“He started the melee; she did her best to defend herself,” Murphy said.

Murphy said Townes assaulted Lilley, and she responded by kicking him twice in the groin.

“That results in him kicking her and in him violently punching the left side of her face, causing the injury to her eye,” Murphy concluded. She added that neither she nor the jury that sat in the case could conclude that a fire extinguisher, brought to the scene by property owner Laurier Fleury, was used to inflict the injury.

A jury convicted Townes of aggravated assault for the incident that occurred Dec. 21, 2017, and also of a charge of violating conditions of release, and the case was continued until Wednesday for sentencing. The jury also acquitted him of other charges.

At that hearing, the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Tyler LeClair, asked the judge to imprison Townes for 28 years.

“Karla is blind in her left eye,” LeClair told the judge. “She has chosen to keep her eye, but she has a prosthetic cover over it. This has fundamentally changed her life.”

LeClair said Townes’ record included 16 assaults over a 30-year period beginning at age 19, and that Townes was free on bail in connection with an assault charge when he attacked Lilley. In all, LeClair said, Townes had 63 criminal convictions.

“This was an intentional vicious attack that left Karla permanently blind in her left eye,” LeClair argued in support of the state’s recommendation.

Townes’ attorney, Devens Hamlen, suggested a much lower sentence, saying that Townes had a difficult upbringing in Roxbury, New York, and had struggled before successfully regaining custody of his child.

Hamlen said Townes had a decade when he had no criminal activity.

“I know he has a lot of things to work on,” Hamlen said. “My experience is that he is a smart, engaged person and that he has had a rough life.”

Lilley wrote a victim impact statement and also addressed the judge at the hearing, repeated some of that afterward.

“I told the judge that this experience — losing my eyesight at 9:30 on Oct. 24 2016 — that person has gone and now I have to be a whole different person.” She said she had been a videographer, a photographer and a sculptor. “I can’t do those things any more.”

Her lack of depth perception also put an end to her slalom skiing.

She said she suffered a brain injury in the attack as well, and that being kicked in the jaw meant she couldn’t taste anything for a year.

She continues to hold her job, and said that the $45,000 in medical costs so far has been covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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