A Maine man who served little jail time for two domestic violence cases that former partners described as nearly fatal pleaded guilty Monday in a third case, agreeing 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 criminal threatening, both felonies, said Chelsea Lynds, an assistant district attorney in Penobscot County.
Pelkey, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanors in the earlier cases and was sentenced to a little over one month in jail, had been charged with two other domestic violence felonies in the 2022 assault.
The woman in that case, Andrea Stevens, told NBC News that she was not thrilled with the sentence, which includes a suspended term of four years and three years of probation.
Pelkey could serve the suspended term if he violates his probation.
Stevens, 38, said she feared the uncertainty of a trial, which could have ended with an acquittal, a hung jury or a prison term that put Pelkey behind bars for fewer years.
“Those were big factors” in agreeing to the deal, she said, noting the sentences Pelkey received in earlier cases.
Pelkey previous pleaded guilty in domestic violence cases involving Ashley Alaimo and Persis Smith.
“He got no time for Ashley,” Stevens said. “He got barely any time for Persis.”
In the 2015 assault on Ashley Alaimo, she alleged that Pelkey broke into their home, knocked her to the ground and pressed on her throat “hard enough that she was not able to breathe at all,” according to an arrest affidavit from the incident.
Pelkey allegedly grabbed a piece of broken glass and threatened to kill Alaimo. As she tried to escape, he allegedly choked her and repeatedly covered her nose and mouth with his hand, the affidavit says.
Pelkey denied the allegations and blamed the violence on Alaimo, according to the affidavit. He was indicted on five charges, including two felonies, and later pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to 10 months in jail, with all but 30 days suspended.
In a 2021 case, Smith said that she was on bed rest from a surgery when Pelkey began choking her. She urinated herself and fell to the floor, breaking her pelvic bone and damaging several ligaments, according to a divorce judgment in which the judge described her allegations as “compelling and very credible.”
Pelkey, who confessed to authorities that he choked Smith, according to an arrest affidavit, was charged with four felonies and later entered an Alford Plea — a guilty plea that allows defendants to assert their innocence — on one misdemeanor count of domestic violence assault.
He was sentenced to six months in jail, with all but 10 days suspended, and two years of probation, court documents from Belfast District Court show.
In Stevens’ case, she accused him of choking her until she couldn’t breathe, ripping her hair out 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, tearing off her pants and throwing her to the floor while using slurs and expletives, the document says.
After Pelkey’s March 2022 indictment, his probation in Smith’s case was revoked and he returned to jail.
Smith slammed Monday’s deal, saying in a text to NBC News that offering Pelkey five years was “disgusting and disgraceful.”
“He not only physically disabled me for life, but he has left a fear inside of me and ALL of his victims that NO words can even express,” she wrote, adding that the “blood, trauma and life-changing pain that has and is happening because of this is on the system.”
Alaimo was also critical of the agreement, saying Pelkey had repeatedly shown that he cannot function in society without hurting others.
“I don’t know who the next woman is but she’s going to die and they’re letting it happen,” Alaimo said.
Lynds did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Pelkey’s lawyer also did not respond to a request for comment.