If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TTY 1-800-437-1220. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.
A former boxer was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison with all but 10 years suspended for stabbing a woman in 2020.
He also was sentenced to six years of probation and was ordered to pay more than $8,200 in restitution, which he previously paid.
Joshua McAuliffe, 42, of Bangor pleaded guilty in September to domestic violence elevated aggravated assault, a Class A crime, and endangering the welfare of a child, a Class D crime.
In sentencing McAuliffe, Superior Court Justice Ann Murray called the crime “a vicious, vicious act” preceded by verbal abuse and threats.
The judge ordered McAuliffe to begin serving his sentence immediately.
McAuliffe wept and hugged his family before being removed from the courtroom.
The victim is a former domestic partner. It is the practice of the Bangor Daily News not to identify victims of domestic violence.
McAuliffe, known locally as a professional boxer, has been free on $100,000 cash bail since late November 2020.
The victim appeared in court remotely. She said that McAuliffe threatened her before the stabbing, and that she was afraid of him in the days and months leading up to the incident.
“He does good for a little while, then something bad happens and he goes to rehab, to church and does good, then something bad happens,” she said. “I want the pattern to end.”
McAuliffe apologized to the victim and his family members in the courtroom. He said that after stabbing the victim, she asked him to pray for her, which he was able to do.
“There are no excuses for what I did,” he said. “I will never return to the person I was that night.”
An emotional McAuliffe said that his faith in God helped him get his life on the right path.
About 20 people attended the sentencing hearing to support McAuliffe. More than a dozen addressed Murray. Many wept as they read statements and spoke highly of McAuliffe’s carpentry skills and his work as a contractor. All said that McAuliffe is not the same man today he was in late 2020. While on bail, he has addressed mental health and substance use disorder issues and has found support at a Brewer church, they told the judge.
The speakers, including relatives, friends and his fellow church members, asked Murray to show mercy in sentencing McAuliffe.
The Penobscot County District Attorney’s office Friday recommended a sentence of 22 years with all but 11 years suspended, followed by six years of probation. Defense attorney Hunter Tzovarras urged the judge to sentence McAuliffe to 12 years in prison with all but two years suspended and six years of probation.
In exchange for McAuliffe’s guilty pleas, Deputy District Attorney Mark Rucci dropped attempted murder, a Class A crime, and aggravated assault charges, a Class B crime. Also dismissed were charges of leaving the scene of an accident and violating a bail condition that stemmed from a crash on Nov. 28, 2020, in Bangor, eight days after he was released from the Penobscot County Jail on $100,000 cash bail.
McAuliffe stabbed the woman in the kitchen of her Westland Street home in Bangor at around 7:23 a.m. on Sept. 16, 2020, following several weeks of threatening messages from McAuliffe to the victim, Rucci told the judge Friday. After stabbing her, McAuliffe tried to strangle the victim, the prosecutor said.
The victim and McAuliffe’s two children were home at the time of the attack. Although the children did not witness the stabbing, they saw their mother bleeding in the kitchen.
When the first officer arrived, McAuliffe refused to drop the knife and picked up one of his children as the officer held him at gunpoint until McAuliffe complied with his instructions. That was the basis for the charge of endangering the welfare of a child, the prosecutor said.
Afterward, McAuliffe called 911, reported that he had stabbed the woman and requested an ambulance, according to court documents. The victim also called 911 and said she felt like she was going to die and was having difficulty breathing.
She was taken to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center with what police described as “very serious injuries” in the chest. The victim has fully recovered from her injuries, but could have bled to death if she had not received medical attention as quickly as she did, according to Rucci.
Now that McAuliffe’s criminal case has been resolved, the victim could file a civil lawsuit seeking damages for her injuries.
McAuliffe faced up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 on the elevated aggravated assault charge, and up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 on the endangering the welfare of a child charge.
The sentencing was held at Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.