SKOWHEGAN — A Somerset County jury on Wednesday found a Pittsfield woman guilty of incest and she was then sentenced to time already served in the county jail.

The jury found 39-year-old Davina Petchonka not guilty on a count of gross sexual assault. Her trial in Somerset County Superior Court was brief, with all testimony heard Tuesday before it was sent to the jury for deliberations that began that day and concluded Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Petchonka had intercourse with the minor in an encounter early last year in Pittsfield that also included her longtime boyfriend, Charles “Chuck” Frost, 41.

While the 12 jurors found that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the sexual act was incest, which is a misdemeanor, they did not find her guilty of gross sexual assault, a felony charge that could have carried a sentence of up to 10 years.

Despite the conviction, Petchonka will walk free this week.

Incest is a Class D misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year, Chief Justice Robert Mullen said during the sentencing portion of Wednesday’s proceedings. Petchonka has been incarcerated at the Somerset County Jail in Madison since her arrest on Dec. 1, so as of Wednesday she had a credit for 322 days served.


Mullen took a few factors into consideration in sentencing Petchonka to time already served, including that she had no prior criminal record and suffers with intellectual disabilities. Petchonka will not have to register as a lifetime sex offender as a result of the conviction, Mullen said, but if she’s convicted of another similar charge she will be.

“I truly believe she understands what happened was wrong,” Mullen said. “I feel badly for the complainant but the simple fact is the worst I could do — the harshest sentence — is 364 days. I don’t think the maximum sentence is going to do a whole lot here apart from take up space in the jail.”

The state, represented by Somerset County prosecutor Timothy Snyder, had argued to the judge that Petchonka should be sentenced more harshly, as she had not taken responsibility for her actions and tried to paint the victim as assaulting her.

“This was a disturbing case,” Snyder told the Morning Sentinel ahead of the sentencing. “(The victim) was extremely affected by (Petchonka’s) allegations that (the victim) sexually assaulted her. We’re satisfied that the jury did not accept her version of that, and accepted (the victim’s) testimony.”

The Sentinel is not reporting some elements of the case in an effort to protect the identity of the victim.

Mullen said it is impossible to speculate on the jury’s reasoning for their verdict, but did say from the bench that he believed there had been evidence to support a different outcome. Snyder suggested the determining factor may have been that the jurors did not believe the state proved the victim was a minor at the time of the incident.


“We accept the jury’s decision on that, but certainly we wouldn’t have brought the case forward if we didn’t think we had evidence that (the victim) was under 18,” Snyder said.

Petchonka’s defense attorney, Jennifer Cohen, did not comment on the verdict. She had asked the judge to sentence Petchonka to no more than the 322 days already served.

The victim chose not to make a statement to the court, but Savannah Shurak, a victim advocate with the Somerset and Kennebec District Attorney’s Office, said they were upset by Petchonka’s allegation that she was the one who had been assaulted.

Shurak said the victim was brave and remained composed on the stand, but that the incest will have a lifelong impact.

The teenager will have to testify again in November when the trial of Frost is scheduled to begin. He faces similar charges.

Snyder will prosecute that case, too. He said Petchonka being acquitted on the gross sexual assault charge will not affect the same charges being brought against Frost as an accomplice.

Petchonka and Frost used to live in Waterville and are the parents of a child who was shot in the back Feb. 28, 2020, by a drive-by shooter who mistakenly believed someone else lived in their apartment on Summer Street in Waterville. The child, 7 at the time, was in her bedroom and the bullet went through the wall of her bedroom and into her back. She was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland and returned home to Waterville nearly a week later. Two men were charged and convicted in connection with the shooting.

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