AUGUSTA — Cullen J. Penney was 21 in December 2016 when he was admitted to a specialty court program in Augusta designed to help him move toward a life free of imprisonment.

But 14 months later, after failing to comply with a number of conditions and walking out of a Bangor drug treatment facility, he is headed to prison for two burglaries and five thefts that occurred in June and July 2016.

He had pleaded guilty to those crimes on Dec. 19, 2016, at the Capital Judicial Center at his admission to the Co-Occurring Disorders and Veterans court, which deals with defendants who have mental health and substance abuse problems.

At that point, Penney had been held for 149 days on those charges, and the plan called for him to serve no more time behind bars if he could stay out of trouble and off drugs — with a lot of help and support from professional working with the court program.

Judge Evert Fowle told him there were some rules. “Be honest with court,” Fowle said. “It’s very hard to deal with people who lie to us.”

Fowle also said, “Don’t expect perfection.”


On Monday, at the same courthouse, Penney, now 22, was removed from the court program and sentenced to an initial three years in prison, with the remainder of the six-year term suspended while he spends three years on probation. And he was also ordered to serve the 334 days remaining from an administrative release which was part of a sentence on a 2015 case.

The state, in documents filed with the court, described Penney as an addict with relapses and noted he was removed from a Wellspring Inc., substance abuse treatment center in Bangor.

He also was ordered to pay $975 restitution for the benefit of individuals as well as Irving, Walgreen’s and Walmart, where he committed the offenses. Probation conditions prohibit him from contact with the victims and from going to the former Cumberland Farms store on Mount Vernon Avenue, Safelite AutoGlass, Irving Oil, Walmart and (the now-shuttered) Sears, all in Augusta.

In a July 23, 2016, burglary in Augusta, the homeowner saw Penney crawling through the window of her Washington Street apartment carrying an Xbox, and recognized him.

Penney had a juvenile record as well and was in Mountain View Youth Development Center from age 15 to 18.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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