A Maine man who served a brief prison sentence for two cases of domestic violence that his ex-partners described as nearly fatal pleaded guilty Monday in a third case and agreed to serve at least five years in prison for the 2022 assault of another ex-girlfriend. The prosecutor in the case told NBC News.
Christopher Pelkey, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault and one count of domestic violence and criminal threatening, both felonies, said Chelsea Lynds, assistant district attorney in Penobscot County.
Pelkey, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanors in previous cases and was sentenced to just over a month in jail, had been charged with two other felonies of domestic violence in the 2022 assault.
The woman in that case, Andrea Stevens, told NBC News she was unhappy with the sentence, which includes a four-year suspended sentence and three years of probation.
Pelkey could serve the suspended sentence if he violates his probation.
Stevens, 38, said he feared the uncertainty of a trial, which could have ended with an acquittal, a hung jury or a prison sentence that would leave Pelkey behind bars for fewer years.
“Those were important factors” in agreeing to the deal, he said, pointing to sentences Pelkey received in previous cases.
Pelkey previously pleaded guilty in domestic violence cases involving Ashley Alaimo and Persis Smith.
“I didn’t have time for Ashley,” Stevens said. “He barely had time for Persis.”
In the 2015 assault on Ashley Alaimo, she alleged that Pelkey broke into her home, knocked her to the ground and pressed her throat. “Harden enough that he couldn’t breathe at all,” according to an arrest affidavit for the incident.
Pelkey allegedly grabbed a piece of broken glass and threatened to kill Alaimo. As she tried to escape from him, he allegedly strangled her and repeatedly covered her nose and mouth with his hand, the affidavit says.
Pelkey denied the allegations and blamed Alaimo for the violence, according to the affidavit. He was charged with five counts, including two felonies, and later pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to 10 months in jail, with all but 30 days suspended on all charges.
In a 2021 case, Smith said she was on bed rest due to surgery when Pelkey began choking her. She urinated and fell to the floor, breaking her pelvic bone and damaging several ligaments, according to a divorce decree in which the judge called her accusations “strong and very credible.”
Pelkey, who confessed to authorities that he strangled Smith, according to an arrest affidavit, was charged with four felonies and later entered an Alford plea. — a guilty plea that allows defendants to claim their innocence — for misdemeanor domestic violence assault.
He was sentenced to six months in jail, with all but 10 days suspended, and two years’ probation, Belfast District Court court documents show.
In Stevens’ case, she accused him of strangling her until she couldn’t breathe, pulling out her hair and threatening to rape her, according to an arrest affidavit in the case.
Stevens also accused him of threatening to kill her and her son with a hammer, rip off her pants and throw her to the ground while using slurs and slurs, the document says.
After Pelkey’s indictment in March 2022, his probation in the Smith case was revoked and he returned to prison.
Smith criticized Monday’s deal, saying in a text message to NBC News that offering Pelkey five years was “disgusting and shameful.”
“He not only physically disabled me for life, but he left a fear inside me and ALL of his victims that NO words can even express,” she wrote, adding that “the blood, trauma and pain that has changed my life and it’s happening because this is in the system.
Alaimo also criticized the agreement, saying Pelkey had repeatedly demonstrated that he cannot function in society without harming others.
“I don’t know who the next woman is going to be, but she’s going to die and they’re allowing that to happen,” Alaimo said.
Lynds did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Pelkey’s attorney also did not respond to a request for comment..