AUGUSTA — An Augusta man who robbed a sandwich shop and — a day later — a convenience store in Augusta last year was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to robbery and theft charges Monday.

Christopher Williams

The sentence for Christopher E. Williams, 27, was that long in large part, according to Assistant District Attorney Tyler LeClair, because he has a prior record of similar crimes and a history of committing additional crimes, including theft and forgery, within months of being released from incarceration.

“What the state is seeing in these cases is the defendant is out a short period of time and then goes back to felony conduct,” LeClair said, noting Williams was out on bail on burglary and theft charges at the time of the robberies. “The state’s goal is to have eyes on him as long as possible.”

Williams pleaded guilty to robbery charges stemming from two robberies in 2018, Oct. 2 of Subway on Bangor Street in Augusta and Oct. 3 of Circle K on Eastern Avenue, during which employees of the businesses said he demanded money and told them he had a gun and a knife. He told a worker at Subway he didn’t want to hurt anyone. According to police, he told a worker at Circle K not to do anything stupid.

He also pleaded guilty to theft charges for breaking into a man’s residence on Cross Hill Road Sept. 12 and stealing an Xbox and games worth a total of $700. He then sold the items, telling Augusta police he had been feeling sick from heroin withdrawal and pawned the items to get money to support his drug habit.

Williams, in court Monday, apologized to his victims, expressed regret for his actions and said all his criminal activity has been to feed his drug addiction.

He said he was on drugs when he committed the robberies.

“I regret everything and apologize,” to my victims, said Williams, who has a large tattoo on the front of his neck, which two witnesses to the robberies said they saw. “I was under the influence of drugs at the time. It all has to do with substance abuse. My addiction got the better of me. I know I need help. I understand I shouldn’t have done what I did. I was out of my mind when I did it.”

He said he sought a sentence of five years or less so that he wouldn’t do his time at the Maine State Prison, where he said he doubted he would be able to participate in drug treatment programs. He said he has not received drug addiction treatment in jail, and each time he has gotten out of incarceration previously, he was not able to find any treatment programs.

LeClair said he checked with Kennebec County jail officials, where Williams has been held pending resolution of the cases against him, and they said Williams had not taken part in or signed up for any of the substance abuse programs offered there — other than signing up for a wait list for one program in which he never took part.

However, Williams said he has taken part in peer counseling and that there is no system to sign up for substance abuse programs at the jail, as he said you just go take part in the programs with no process to sign up for them ahead of time.

Judge Valerie Stanfill expressed sympathy for Williams being unable to overcome his drug addiction. But she said while Williams may not be able to get into the specific drug treatment program he wants to at Maine State Prison, there are other drug treatment programs available at the prison in which he could take part.

“In the end, that has got to come from inside you,” she said. “I hope it does. I hope it does this time.”

LeClair said the state didn’t seek restitution in the plea deal because, in the past, Williams has racked up $7,800 in restitution in prior cases and has never paid anything toward that total.

Williams said he has paid restitution in the past.

He was sentenced to 16 years in prison, with all but seven years suspended and four years probation.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]
Twitter: @kedwardskj

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