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Caribou man convicted of armed robbery to serve 15 years

CARIBOU, Maine — A judge sentenced Jeffrey Doucette, 50, of Caribou on Friday to 22 years in prison with all but 15 years suspended for armed robbery and another 5 years to be served concurrently for related crimes of criminal threatening, terrorizing, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

Doucette, who was found guilty of all four charges on Nov. 29, also was ordered to serve four years probation upon his release.

Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart in reviewing the case indicated that Doucette was formerly an employee of the victim, and entered her local business on March 13 with a weapon, while she was alone, told her it was “Judgement Day,” and held her at gunpoint for about 10 minutes.

Jeffrey Doucette of Caribou was sentenced Friday to serve 15 years in prison for armed robbery. (Christopher Bouchard)

He left without hurting her and police arrested and charged him a short while later near the business. No weapon was recovered.

Doucette’s attorney, John Tebbetts of Presque Isle, on Friday requested a new trial due to a lack of evidence that his client used a weapon, because of a gap in the business’ surveillance video recording, and because the victim’s recollection did not create a “coherent narrative.”

Stewart denied the request, stating that no inconsistencies were found after the victim was cross-examined. Her statement that the gun was small enough to fit in the palm of Doucette’s hand also was plausible, Stewart  said, adding that “small guns do indeed exist.” Additionally, Stewart said Doucette was seen arriving at a nearby laundromat, which caught him on film, where he was arrested, and that the time he was caught on those cameras lines up with the time he was caught on the victim’s surveillance camera.

The County is not naming the business owner since she is considered a victim. She began to read a statement in court Friday, but was too overwhelmed and another woman finished reading it on her behalf.
Her statement indicated she has spent more than $11,000 on security equipment since the incident, and that the money for that equipment came out of savings for her childrens’ college.

“On this Monday I was stripped of my sense of safety, trust, confidence and independence,” the victim said in her statement. “You don’t realize how these things affect your day to day life until something traumatic happens. I’ve been through the loss of a spouse and raising children by myself, living alone, but never felt the way I did after this Monday. The fear that someone wanted to kill me and threatened to kill family members, friends or anyone that I told has really put me in a different place in my mind and my outlook on life.”

Doucette’s ex-wife also read a statement during the sentencing, asking for “absolutely no mercy on him at all.”

She said she has watched the victim, her best friend, change from a “strong, independent, outgoing woman,” to being in a “constant state of fear.” The ex-wife also said that her and Doucette’s daughter had been living in fear of Doucette long before the robbery in March.

“[Doucette] was in prison for six years of my daughter’s life,” the ex-wife said, adding that her daughter no longer wanted to see him after witnessing “many outbursts of anger.”

“After randomly contacting her one night and driving by home, she would never stay at home alone, she would always keep the shades shut, and always be concerned that doors were locked at night,” the ex-wife said.

She told the court that her daughter had talked about obtaining a protection order, but that they did not seek one until Doucette threatened to kill [the ex-wife] during the March robbery.

“With the rage and anger Jeffrey has repeatedly shown over the years,” she continued, “it’s frightening to know that one day he will be released, and what he is capable of. I plead with you today that you give him the maximum sentence.”

District Attorney Todd Collins asked Stewart to sentence Doucette to 25 years with all but 19 years suspended, while defense attorney Tebbetts sought 9 years with all but five suspended.

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