May 11, 2013

Augusta man gets prison for strangling girlfriend

Joshua Drew faces more than six years behind bars after being sentenced in three separate cases.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

ALFRED – An Augusta man with a history of domestic violence convictions who tried to strangle his girlfriend in Hollis last November was sentenced in three separate cases Thursday to more than six years behind bars followed by four years of probation.

Joshua Drew, 28, was already on probation for a prior domestic assault against another woman last Nov. 17 when he attacked his girlfriend at her home, where he had been staying, said Assistant District Attorney Thomas Miscio.

"There was an argument over some vodka. He strangled her from behind to the point where she lost control of her bodily functions," Miscio said. "All of his previous domestic violence assaults also involved strangulation."

Miscio said the girlfriend testified at trial that she couldn't breathe but remained conscious during the attack.

Drew's attorney, Peter Richard, argued that the prosecution incorrectly used the term "strangled," since Drew was not charged with that crime, which would have been felony aggravated assault rather than just assault. Richard also said all of Drew's previous convictions were for misdemeanors.

Miscio said that after Drew was released on bail in the choking case, he contacted the victim five times in violation of the conditions of his release, resulting in another charge against him.

Drew was found guilty after a jury trial in April of a felony count of domestic violence assault and a misdemeanor charge of obstructing reporting a crime. He was found not guilty of a felony count of domestic violence stalking. The trial testimony lasted one day, and the jury deliberated for four hours.

Justice John O'Neil sentenced Drew on Thursday in York County Superior Court in all three cases -- the probation case for the past domestic assault, the choking case and the five counts of violation of the terms of his release while he was out on bail.

O'Neil gave Drew the maximum sentence in the choking case, five years in prison. The judge revoked his probation in the previous domestic assault case, ordering him to serve a year in the York County Jail after completing his prison term. The judge gave him a four-year suspended sentence with 30 days to serve in jail and four years of probation for contacting the victim.

Drew was previously convicted of domestic violence assault in 2008, twice in 2009, twice in 2010 and again in 2011. In the 2011 case, Drew was also convicted of cruelty to animals for strangling the cat of one of his victims to death, according to court records.

Miscio, in his written sentencing argument, cited a letter Drew had previously written on an inmate request form in Somerset County Jail dated March 7, 2012, in which Drew said: "Every last one of you does nothing but fuel my hatred & anger towards women. I do not feel remorse & I am not sorry for the things I have done. My only regret is that I didn't do worse to the women I assaulted."

Richard said Drew has not made a final decision on whether he will file an appeal.

 

Scott Dolan can be contacted at: 791-6304 or at

sdolan@mainetoday.com

 

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