MILBRIDGE, Maine — A man from the Waldo County town of Knox has been sentenced to serve 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to violently attacking a local woman with a hatchet last summer.

Linwood Doughty, 55, had been charged with attempted murder in the June 26, 2016, attack at the woman’s home but in a deal with prosecutors pleaded guilty this month to a lesser charge of elevated aggravated assault, according to his attorney, Jeff Toothaker of Ellsworth. The 20 years is a straight sentence with no suspended portion and no probation, Toothaker said.

Doughty has a significant history of domestic violence.

In March 1995, he tracked down a former girlfriend and shot her in the thigh with a high-powered rifle. That victim, who was hiding from Doughty at a relative’s house in Fairfield, managed to escape through a window and ran to a neighbor’s home to call police. Doughty served more than a decade in prison after being convicted of attempted murder for that assault.

Doughty’s prior criminal history includes assaults, criminal threatening, violations of protective orders and terrorizing, according to a copy of his criminal history obtained from the Maine Bureau of Identification. One domestic altercation that involved Doughty, on Nov. 13, 1994, resulted in the death of Maine State Trooper Jeffrey Parola, whose cruiser crashed as he was heading to the incident.

Doughty was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison for the 1995 incident and after that was sent back to prison twice for violating probation — in 2004 and again in 2010.

In the Milbridge incident last June, Doughty broke into the woman’s house while she was watching television and told her “you’re going to [expletive] die tonight,” according to a court affidavit. Doughty and the Milbridge woman were well acquainted with each other at the time.

He is accused of striking her twice in the head with the hatchet before she grabbed the handle of the weapon, police wrote in the document. He then allegedly pushed the handle into her throat and tried to strangle her.

The struggle lasted for about 20 minutes before Linwood began to engage the woman in conversation “like a switch had been flipped,” the affidavit states, after which he calmed down and then helped her clean up. The victim then helped Doughty tend to scratches to his face before she managed to escape to a friend’s house and call the police, according to the document.

Doughty was arrested later as he was driving back west through Hancock County, according to police. After being given a description of the vehicle Doughty was driving, Maine State Police stopped him and took him into custody near Ellsworth.

According to Toothaker, Doughty has since expressed regret for the incident and has had evaluations that indicate he may have mental health issues. He added that since the attack, Doughty has oft repeated Proverbs 20:30 from the Bible to officials involved with his criminal case.

The verse says, “Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being,” depending on which translation is used, the defense attorney noted.

“There’s clearly something wrong with Mr. Doughty,” Toothaker said. “I’m amazed this did not end up worse than it did.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....