AUGUSTA — A former Chelsea man who said he’s been imprisoned for the past six years told a judge he didn’t understand how he could be charged with domestic violence terrorizing.

Robert A. Robinson Jr., 50, was brought from the Maine State Prison for an arraignment Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

He had been indicted in February 2017 on a charge of domestic violence terrorizing that occurred in the period of July 1 to Aug. 1, 2016, in Vassalboro.

The judge said he was curious about the timing as well.

“It was terrorizing over the phone,” said the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Carie James.

Robinson pleaded not guilty to the charge, and his next hearing is set for Nov. 30.

Justice Donald Marden set bail at $500 cash as requested by James.

“He’s in prison; he’s not going to be getting out any time soon,” she said.

Robinson’s release date from prison is Feb. 14, 2022, as listed on the state Department of Corrections website.

Marden told Robinson that his concerns about the indictment should be brought to the attention of the attorney appointed to represent him in the case.

He is serving a 10-year term that had been suspended on a 2002 conviction in Kennebec County for gross sexual assault. His imprisonment occurred after he was convicted of violating a condition of release and violating a protective order on a 2013 charge of violating a condition of release and violating a protective order.

He’s listed on the Maine Sex Offender Registry as a lifetime offender as a result of convictions in 2002 on five charges each of gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact. The 10 years he is currently serving were from that original sentence and from a domestic violence case.

The indictment says that Robinson “did communicate to Jessica A. Ruiz, a threat to commit or to cause to be committed” assault against her.

Ruiz was the state’s chief witness in a domestic violence assault case in which the state said she was beaten by Robinson over a two-day period in April 2013. She was arrested as a material witness after the prosecutors said they feared she had been ducking a subpoena and would fail to turn up for Robinson’s trial.

She was held for 17 hours and a judge ordered her freed on the condition that she appear at the trial.

At the time, Maeghan Maloney, district attorney in Kennebec and Somerset counties, said she pursued the unusual measure of having Ruiz arrested only after consulting with the Family Violence Project, the local agency that aids victims of domestic violence.

Maloney said if Ruiz didn’t testify at Robinson’s trial, the case could be dismissed and Robinson freed because Ruiz was the only witness to his abuse.

During the two-day beating, Maloney said, Robinson struck Ruiz so heavily with a broomstick that it broke and then continued to hit her with it.

“What it came to is that I would rather have to explain why she was arrested than why she was dead,” Maloney said at that time. “It is not the course that we want to take, but it’s the course we have to take in the most dangerous cases, where the victim is in danger of being killed.”

Marden was the judge who convicted Robinson in January 2014 of domestic violence assault, domestic violence criminal threatening and domestic violence, all against Ruiz. Robinson was ordered to serve 10 years in prison, then be on probation for two years. He could go back to prison for five more years if he violates that probation.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams

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