AUGUSTA — A 31-year-old Waterville man already serving a sentence at the Maine State Prison pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated assault in an attack on his girlfriend.

Jonathan A. Petgrave was sentenced to an initial 28 months in prison, with the remainder of the six-year term suspended while he serves three years of probation.

At the hearing at the Capital Judicial Center, the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Kristin Murray-James, said Petgrave twice tried to strangle the woman on Aug. 14, 2017, before shoving her into a ditch on Bellsqueeze Road in Clinton.

Murray-James said the couple had been arguing since the previous day, and the physical attacks began the morning of the 14th.

She said that if the case had gone to trial, the victim would testify that Petgrave “strangled her to the point that she could not breathe.” Murray-James said the victim called a mutual friend to take her home, and Petgrave got into the car as well.

The prosecutor said Petgrave then ordered the driver to stop, dragged the woman out of the car and choked her again to the point that the woman thought she was going to die.

When the woman tried to return to the car, Petgrave yanked her out again and pushed her into a ditch, the prosecutor told the judge.

Murray-James said three independent witnesses heard the woman screaming, came out of their house and saw what happened.

Clinton police responded to the witnesses’ 911 call and found the victim hysterical in the middle of the road, with deep red marks on her neck and elbow, and wearing one shoe and a ripped shirt. The victim was treated at MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Center for Health in Waterville.

Attorney Charles T. Ferris, representing Petgrave, told Judge Eric Walker, “We disagree with many of the facts as recited by the state, but feel there is enough evidence that the state could probably prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A related charge of domestic violence assault was dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Petgrave, who is originally from Brooklyn, New York, is serving a 30-month probation revocation for a drug possession conviction from Aroostook County and a 12-month sentence from Penobscot County for illegal possession of a firearm. The probation revocation was based on the conduct in the attack on the woman.

Murray-James said the victim was aware of Thursday’s hearing and agrees with the disposition.

Ferris said he believe the recommended sentence “is a fair resolution to a factually contested matter.”

The original sentence from the drug possession charge was three years in prison, with all but the initial 180 days suspended during the two years of probation.

Walker told Petgrave that if he violated the probation on the aggravated assault charge, he could serve another 3.5 years in prison.

“This sentence makes sense for the protection of the victim and the protection of the public,” Walker said.

Petgrave also was ordered to complete a certified batterers’ intervention course, as well as domestic violence court, and was banned from contact with the victim.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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