April 20, 2019

Sentencing angers alleged abuse victim

DOVER-FOXCROFT – The credibility of an alleged domestic abuse victim played a significant role in the sentencing Monday of a Greenville man in Piscataquis County Superior Court.

Justin McIver, 29, initially was charged with two counts of assault that stemmed from two altercations in Abbot and Shirley last year with his then-girlfriend.

Those charges later were reduced by the state to disorderly conduct. McIver also was charged with violation of bail conditions and violation of a protection order.

On Monday, McIver pleaded guilty to the three charges and was sentenced by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm to seven days in jail on each count to be served concurrently. He also was fined $250 on each count. Hjelm called the sentence “appropriate.”

McIver’s alleged victim, Monica Bates of Guilford, was not happy with the reduction of the initial charges or the sentence handed down Monday.

“We all know domestic abuse is a major problem and this is just a slap in the face,” Bates said tearfully in court.

Bates compared the sentence meted out Monday to a sentence McIver received last year for cruelty to animals. In that case, McIver, whose abuse of a dog was videotaped by a neighbor, received five days in jail.

“It makes me feel like a human life is easily dismissed; seven days is almost a joke,” Bates told Hjelm. “Nobody knows what I went through with this man. This man beat me monthly if not weekly and I found the courage to leave.”

Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy, however, alluded to a credibility problem with Bates.

He said the first assault charge stemmed from an argument between the two over drugs. Almy said Bates believed McIver had taken some of her medicine and had shoved her. McIver felt Bates was abusing the medication.

Almy said Bates actually did have a problem with drugs and a tape recording of a conversation she had with another individual would “significantly impact her credibility,” he said.

The second assault charge concerned a vehicle they jointly owned, Almy said.

He said Bates spotted the vehicle parked at a barbershop and surreptitiously tried to take the vehicle from McIver.

McIver observed the attempt and came outside where an altercation occurred before the pair got into the vehicle and drove off, he said.

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