SKOWHEGAN — A Solon man once described by a district attorney as “one of the worst domestic violence offenders we have ever dealt with” is back in jail after his third arrest in three weeks.
Jason Lawrence, 36, of River Road, is being held without bail at the Somerset County Jail after he was arrested Sunday on charges he violated bail by threatening a woman’s life.
Lawrence was arrested March 11 on charges he attacked the woman, then was arrested March 13 on bail violations after, according to police, he threatened her.
Lawrence, whose felony domestic violence convictions date back to 1997, is scheduled to go to court April 8.
Somerset County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney on Thursday said her office finally prevailed in getting Lawrence held without bail after he twice broke bail conditions after the initial March 11 assault.
A RECORD OF MULTIPLE ASSAULTS
“We argued that Jason Lawrence be held without bail after his first violation,” she said. “The judge disagreed. We again argued that he be held without bail after his second violation and the judge agreed. Jason Lawrence is now in custody.
In 2004, Lawrence was ordered to complete a four-year, three-month prison sentence, which had been suspended after a 2001 conviction for felony domestic violence.
In that case, Lawrence was found guilty on three counts of domestic violence and one count of terrorizing for assaulting his domestic partner and threatening to kill her 2-year-old child.
While free on probation in 2004, Lawrence committed three more assaults on the same victim and was sent back to prison.
Then-Somerset County District Attorney Evert Fowle said at the time Lawrence was the most violent domestic abuser he had seen, noting that he was convicted in 1997 of assaulting his brother, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s mother.
Maloney said Thursday Lawrence’s record is what made her ask that he be held without bail from the start.
VICTIM SAFETY ‘TOP PRIORITY’
“It is important that a person’s criminal history be given great consideration when considering bail, because domestic violence typically escalates over time,” Maloney said. “I don’t believe in giving someone with a history as violent as Jason Lawrence the benefit of the doubt. Victim safety has to be the top priority.”
She added, “Law enforcement did a great job immediately responding to each violation and quickly giving us the information that we needed to prove the violation.”
The most recent chain of charges began March 11 when, police said, Lawrence tried to stop the woman he’s charged with assaulting from leaving a home they shared in Skowhegan.
“Jason grabbed her from behind and placed his hand around her throat and jammed his thumb in her ear,” according to an affidavit by Skowhegan police Officer Timothy Williams.
Lawrence was charged with aggravated assault, domestic violence assault, domestic violence terrorizing, violation of a protection order and four counts of violating the conditions of release, according to a booking report at the Somerset County Jail.
Lawrence was released on $1,000 cash bail and was ordered to comply with provisions for supervision under the Somerset County Community Corrections Program and to have no contact with the woman.
On March 13, Lawrence was arrested again after he called the woman and threatened to kill her, according to police.
“Your days are numbered. I could kill you without touching you,” Lawrence said, Skowhegan police officer Billie Martin wrote in a court affidavit.
The amount of bail was increased, but Lawrence was released again, this time despite the objections of Maloney, who said she contacted area law enforcement agencies to alert them to Lawrence’s history of domestic violence and to the fact that he was free on bail.
“What’s unusual about this case is the length of his criminal history,” Maloney said at the time. “That’s why he should be handled differently.”
Then on Sunday, a woman in Norridgewock who knows the victim called police to say Lawrence had left a threatening message about the victim on her cellphone: “This is Jason. I want (the victim) to know she is a dead bitch,” according to court documents.
Lawrence was arrested again and charged with felony violating the conditions of release and violation of a protection order.
He is represented by Waterville attorney Brad Grant, who did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.
Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367, or at: