AUGUSTA — A woman who fired a handgun while arguing with her husband at their Oakland home testified Monday at her trial on several charges she was in fear for her safety after he swore at her, called her names and got in her face, but she had no intention of shooting him.

Heather M. Hodgson, 41, was charged with attempted elevated aggravated assault, domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and endangering the welfare of a child following the incident in early 2023. She had fired a 9 mm hollow-point round into the floor of the bedroom she shared with her husband during that argument.

Before the one-day trial began at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta, state prosecutors dropped a Class B charge of attempted elevated aggravated assault, which would have come with a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Midway through the trial on a motion from Darrick X. Banda, Hodgson’s lawyer, Active Retired Superior Court Justice William Stokes ruled there was not enough evidence to continue with charges of attempted aggravated assault and a second count of domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. Stokes dropped those charges from the trial.

Stokes said he expects to issue his verdict Tuesday morning.

Hodgson’s husband testified that following an argument Feb. 3, 2023, he took out the trash, including emptied bottles of alcohol that had prompted their argument, but had to push his way through the family’s front door to get back in because Hodgson was holding it closed. He said that when he got inside, he found his wife pointing her Glock handgun at him and demanding he leave.

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The newspaper is not identifying the man because it is the Kennebec Journal’s policy to not identify victims of alleged domestic violence crimes without their consent.

He said he had intended to leave the house, but needed to get his wallet, cellphone and other items before going. He said Hodgson had pulled his cellphone from his hands and thrown it to the floor.

“When I went to get my phone, she was standing over the bed with the muzzle pointed at me. At one point, she moved the muzzle off me, and then came right back on,” the woman’s husband testified Monday. “That’s the moment I knew I had to get out of there. When she moved that muzzle off me and looked back at me, expressionless, was when I knew I was in trouble. As soon as I grabbed my phone and turned around, I heard ‘bang.'”

He then turned, pushed Hodgson onto their bed, ripped the gun from her hands, pulled out the gun’s magazine and called the police.

The man was not shot or injured, and the bullet left a large hole in the carpet, officials said.

Hodgson, formerly of Oakland and now of Winslow, testified she thought the man had left the house after they argued. She said she was making her way downstairs to go to bed when she stopped by the door to grab her purse, which contained the handgun she said she had bought for protection. Hodgson said the door opened and hit her, then it was opened more aggressively and hit her again, which is when she said she decided to pull out the gun. She testified that she held it pointed down, not at her husband, even after he forced his way through the door.

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She said she was frightened because he was unpredictable, and he had earlier thrown his wedding ring in her direction, sworn at her, called her names and got in her face.

Hodgson ordered him to leave, and when he said he needed to get items from downstairs first, she said she became concerned because that was where he kept his handgun, in a locked box. She said she fired the shot into the floor to defend herself from him, but said she had no intention of shooting him, and shot to the left as he was moving to the right.

“He looked really angry, and I didn’t know what he was thinking, so I didn’t know what to do,” Hodgson testified, sometimes through tears. “I just was scared. My intent was self-defense.”

Hodgson also noted her husband is much larger than she, and while she has had extensive firearms training, she has had no training in using only her body in self-defense.

The couple’s two young children were home during the incident, in their bedrooms upstairs from where the shooting took place.

Prosecutor Shannon Flaherty, an assistant district attorney for Kennebec County, said the endangering the welfare of a child charge was brought because Hodgson, who she said was impaired from drinking alcohol, fired the gun inside the house while the children were there. One of the children had been awake and moving around the house a short time before the incident.

Banda said a gun going off into the floor of the basement of the home while the children were upstairs does not meet the requirements to be found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child. He also said there had been no testimony or expert witnesses who indicated the children were in danger.

The two most serious remaining charges — domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon — are Class C crimes, which are punishable by up to five years in prison.

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