PORTLAND — A judge this morning sentenced Ephriam Bennett to 21 years in prison for a robbery in Standish last year, during which Bennett punched and kicked the homeowner, robbed him of cash, restrained him with duct tape and stabbed him twice over a period of several hours.

Bennett, 48, pleaded guilty last October to the crimes he committed in the early morning of Feb. 8, 2009.

The Chicago native had been convicted in 1994 for an armed robbery of a home in Texas, and was also convicted of larceny in North Carolina in 2008.

During the hearing today at Cumberland County Superior Court, Justice Thomas Warren told Bennett that he needed to impose a lengthy prison sentence because of the seriousness of the offenses in Standish, and to protect the public.

The victim in the Standish robbery, 56-year-old Richard Carlson, told Justice Warren that he has been unable to work as a carpenter since the incident. His home is in foreclosure and he sees psychologists, psychiatrists and other medical professionals on a weekly basis. He suffered stab wounds, broken ribs, and some of his teeth were knocked out.

“This wasn’t a 10- or 15-minute incident. This went on for over six hours,” Carlson said. “The rest of that day I was in an ambulance or in the trauma room, getting put back together.”

Police say Bennett was living in a camper in the neighborhood in Standish along Bonny Eagle Lake.

A tearful Bennett apologized to Carlson and to the court. He said he became a minister a few years ago and has preached to or counseled several hundred inmates at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland.

“I don’t have an excuse for what I did to Mr. Carlson,” Bennett said. “Words can’t explain how sorry I am.”


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