AUGUSTA — A Clinton man was ordered to serve six years of a 17-year prison sentence, followed by four years of probation for robbing a stranger of his life savings and leaving the older man with both sides of his jaw broken.

Richard B. Poirier, 25, who also had an address in Rome, pleaded guilty to the Feb. 5, 2014, robbery at a hearing Friday in Kennebec County Superior Court at the Capital Judicial Center. In exchange for the plea to robbery, charges of burglary, aggravated assault and aggravated criminal trespass were dismissed.

HAD VICTIM’S WALLET

Assistant District Attorney Francis Griffin told the judge at the hearing that Waterville police discovered the victim’s property before they found him.

Griffin said three officers working the night shift were dispatched in response to a report of a shirtless man trying to kick down the door to a Main Street residence in Waterville. The man, Poirier, was highly intoxicated, and police searching him found a wallet belonging to Edward P. Cook containing more than $3,050 in cash. Poirier told police that Cook owed him money for alcohol.

A police dispatcher contacted Cook, who said someone broke into his North Street home, hit him on the head and took his wallet and money.

Cook was taken to the hospital for treatment of head injuries, including the broken jaw.

“He would testify he’s still in pain today and still has problems eating,” Griffin said.

Griffin said Cook, 69, was at the courthouse on Thursday anticipating the plea would be that day, and did not attend Friday’s hearing.

“He described to me yesterday some of the ongoing problems he continues to have,” Griffin said.

KICKED IN THE FACE

Griffin said Cook remains frustrated about the attack. Cook went to court three months after the attack and succeeded in getting an order returning his property to him. He described the bill denominations: 28 $100 bills, 10 $20 bills and one $50 bill. Cook said at that time he was still recovering from the attack, in which the robber kicked him in the face. Cook said his face will never look the same.

“It’s something I have to live with,” Cook said. “He broke my jaw in two places. He invaded my home.”

Griffin said witnesses reported Poirier was in Cook’s building several times that night, but Griffin said the two men were strangers.

Justice Robert Mullen warned Poirier, “You would have 11 years to serve if you violated your probation.” Mullen also ordered Poirier to pay up to $2,600 restitution.

‘REGRETS HIS ACTIONS’

Poirier said little at the hearing except to indicate he understood the rights he was waiving by pleading guilty and not going to trial.

“My client, since he’s been incarcerated, he’s taken advantage of every program offered at the jail and been leading some,” defense attorney Scott Gurney said. “Obviously he regrets his actions that night.”

Gurney said Poirier had worked on the area natural gas pipeline project and had been laid off about two months before the incident.

“My client felt his substance abuse took hold of him,” Gurney said. “He realizes he has to have counseling when he gets out of prison as well.”

Mullen said he accepted the sentencing recommendation partly so Cook would not have to relive the incident during trial, something Griffin said was important.

Mullen also said he was baffled by the assault on a stranger.

“It seems just completely random and crazy,” Mullen said.

He also warned Poirier that since this was his second felony robbery conviction, it would aggravate any subsequent sentences.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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