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A Newport man who admitted Tuesday that he strangled his wife at the couple’s home in early 2020 was sentenced to 18 years in prison with all but 12 suspended after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Frederick Allen Jr., 42, was charged with murder in the death of his wife, Anielka Allen, 37, on Jan. 9, 2020. Her slaying was classified as a domestic violence homicide and was the first homicide that year in Maine.
The nearly two years Allen has been jailed while awaiting the resolution of his case will count toward his sentence. He could be released after serving seven to 7½ years after earning time off for good behavior.
In addition to prison time, Superior Court Justice Ann Murray sentenced Allen to six years of probation and ordered him to pay $5,500 in restitution for his wife’s funeral expenses. If he violates the terms of his probation, he could return to prison for up to the remaining six years on his sentence.
Allen, who had pleaded not guilty to murder, was scheduled to be tried in late November 2021. He has no criminal history.
Allen faced up to 30 years in prison for manslaughter. If he had been convicted of murder, Allen would have faced between 25 years and life in prison.
There was no plea agreement in the case.
The Maine attorney general’s office recommended a sentence of 30 years with all but 25 years suspended. Defense attorney Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth urged the judge to sentence Allen to 15 years with all but five suspended.
An emotional Allen apologized to friends and family members in the courtroom. He told the judge that he did not understand why his wife wanted to leave him.
“I love her with all my heart and I thought that would be good enough,” he said.
Allen has been held without bail since his arrest in early 2020 at the Penobscot and Kennebec county jails. He was scheduled to change his plea last month but that was rescheduled because of a coronavirus outbreak at the Augusta jail.
Dr. Lisa Funte of the Maine medical examiner’s office found that the cause of death was asphyxiation by manual strangulation, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Bogue told the judge. Family members described the Allens’ relationship as rocky, and said Allen is a veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, Bogue told Murray.
The couple were married in 2000 and have two daughters and one son. One of the daughters saw her father put her mother in a headlock the morning of Jan. 9, 2020, Bogue said.
Bogue said Tuesday that Anielka Allen was planning to leave her husband and move to Florida. Her car was packed for the trip, the prosecutor said.
Anastasia Allen, one of the couple’s daughters, told the judge that she had a difficult relationship with her mother, who refused to hug her and did not attend her high school graduation. She said that both her parents contributed to the difficulties in their marriage.
“We want justice for her but we also don’t want to see our dad in prison for a long time,” she told the judge.
The Allen children and other family members sat behind their father in the gallery on Tuesday rather than behind the prosecution, which is unusual in a homicide case.