Former Dixfield man sentenced to six years for burglary, domestic violence

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Aug. 6 – SOUTH PARIS – A former Dixfield man convicted last month of burglary and domestic violence against a woman and girl at their home was sentenced Friday to six years in prison.

Oxford County Supreme Court Justice Julia M. Lipez sentenced Harry Every, 52, to 15 years in prison, but suspended nine years from that sentence.

After his release from prison, Every will be on probation for four years.

He spent about 20 months in prison which will be credited to his sentence.

Witnesses on both sides of the courtroom made emotional statements on Friday before Lipez announced her sentence.

The woman and girl who testified at Every’s trial told the judge on Friday that they do not expect his behavior to change once he is released and that he poses a threat.

“It’s not about whether he will attack me again,” the woman said. “It’s a matter of when he will attack me again and try to finish what he started because he and I really know what happened that night.”

The Sun Journal does not identify victims of domestic violence.

She has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety since the early morning incident on Jan. 4, 2020, she said.

“This fear is so severe that I have to take medication on a daily basis,” she said. “The panic attacks come out of nowhere. The nightmares are a few times a week where I wake up screaming. (And) constantly looking over my shoulder.”

The girl, who was 14 years old at the time of the incident, told the judge on Friday that she too now suffers from PTSD, anxiety and depression.

“I had to go to high school,” she said. “I’ve never had a break. And some people just call me strong, but honestly, I never really was. I just had to deal with it. And that’s not something a 14-year-old should have to deal with.”

The girl told the judge that Every “will not change. He is a terrorist and he does it for everyone, everyone who drives him crazy. He doesn’t know how to control himself, especially when it comes to drinking. And I believe that he would.” try to kill us again. He should serve out enough time to compensate for the trauma he put me through.”

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Justice Lipez reviewed the facts of the case which went to trial for three days. The jury reached a verdict after less than an hour of deliberation and acquitted Every of attempted murder.

Each was convicted of five other crimes, including four felonies: burglary, domestic violence, reckless conduct, domestic violence, criminal threat and terrorizing domestic violence.

Lipez convicted Every on the burglary charge, which was punishable by up to 30 years in prison for being committed with a firearm.

She was sentenced to five years in prison on each of the domestic violence charges served at the same time as the burglary and will not add time to his sentence.

Lipez said Friday that the evidence presented at the trial included Every’s presence at the woman’s and girl’s home the night before the incident. He told the girl he was leaving at about 6pm, but would check the mousetraps in the basement before he left.

Evidence at trial showed that Every had made arrangements “to sneak into the house through the basement,” Lipez said. He did that by tampering with the cellar door and covering a cellar window.

When he “secretly” returned to the basement, “he was armed and the gun was loaded with three bullets,” Lipez said.

Although Every was “very drunk” at the time, Lipez said, he wasn’t so drunk that he couldn’t act intentionally or knowingly, a conclusion consistent with the jury’s verdict.

He was waiting for the woman and girl to sleep when he entered the woman’s bedroom “brandishing a loaded firearm,” Lipez said.

Elke “threatened to kill her and kill (the girl). He slammed her phone away when she tried to call 911 for help. And then he pulled the trigger on that firearm twice in a very small space. The first time. the gun didn’t work, but the second time it worked and a bullet traveled through the walls of (the woman’s bedroom).”

Through those actions, Every intentionally or knowingly placed the woman in fear of imminent bodily harm, and he acted recklessly with a firearm, Lipez said.

The woman and girl “were able to flee — and they had to flee by essentially jumping out of a window while on a 911 call,” Lipez said.

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Elke then kept police at a distance in the house while armed, she said.

It took police a “considerable amount of time” to talk him out of the house, she said.

Lipez praised the police for their “commendable de-escalation techniques,” she said, with no injuries.

“This was a very dangerous, unstable situation, as Mr. Every was armed and very drunk,” she said.

Overall, Lipez said: “It’s amazing that there were no injuries in this case. It really is. This was extremely dangerous behaviour, extremely threatening behaviour. And it’s really a miracle that everyone got out safely.”

Several aid workers who recently treated Every for alcohol use spoke on Friday, pointing to the progress he has made since his arrest.

Every was released from prison nearly a year ago and visited a rehabilitation center in Bangor, followed by time spent in a supposedly austere house.

They said he seemed motivated to maintain his sobriety.

One of Every’s daughters, Brittany, told the judge on Friday that she was on the phone with her father shortly after the incident and before several officers arrived at the house.

“When I spoke to him that night, he wasn’t himself. He didn’t know where he was, what he was doing. He just had no idea and I talked for hours about him committing suicide.”

She also experienced PTSD from the incident and was undergoing therapy, she said.

When she later met Every, he was sober and recovering, she said. “I saw a very different person and a very different father.”

She and Every’s counselors said he has repented for his actions.

“He’s really sorry and he said he didn’t want to hurt either of them,” she said. “I believe if he can stay out of prison, he will continue to do great.”

Some victims suggested Friday that Every’s sobriety was a circumstance of his arrest and that he was motivated to show progress by demanding a reduced prison sentence.

To reach a conviction, Lipez said she considered factors in Every’s favor, including a lifelong battle with alcohol that began when he was 12 years old and continued until his arrest.

She said his criminal history was minimal and linked to alcohol use.

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Leading up to the incident, Lipez said she learned that Every had conducted an “ongoing campaign” of “manipulative and, frankly, abusive behavior on the part of Mr. Every,” threatening suicide repeatedly in text messages to the girl.

Attorney James Howaniec told the judge Friday that his client has been sober for 31 months and that his risk of recidivism was low.

Lipez agreed.

Howaniec said after the sentencing that Every “understands that this was a very serious crime involving a gun fired in a small room in the middle of the night. If he had been convicted of attempted murder, he probably would have looked at a sentence in the range of Ages 15 to 20. With credit for a good time, he will face another approximately three years in prison. He deeply regrets the damage he caused his family. He looks forward to continuing his alcohol rehabilitation in prison. and eventually move on with his life.”

Howaniec said he will review his options with Every to appeal his conviction and sentence on the burglary charge. He has 21 days to decide whether to appeal.

Acting District Attorney Alex Winter said Friday after the sentencing that she wanted to thank the jury for her efforts.

“The state is grateful to the court for recognizing the safety of the victims and the community,” she said. “The state would also like to thank law enforcement for their dedicated service and response in this case.”

When Every is released from prison, he will not be allowed to have alcohol, illegal drugs, firearms and dangerous weapons for which he can be searched arbitrarily during the four years that he is on probation.

He must complete substance abuse treatment, psychological counseling and the certified abuser intervention program, Lipez ordered.

Anyone must not have contact with the victims or their families and must not be in Oxford County.

Lipez referred to a letter written by a man imprisoned at Every who described him as a “shining light in a dark place”.

Lipez told Every: “Those are high words of praise. I want you to remember them, Mr. Every, as you go along, because I know you did a good job there and helped other people and that’s important.”

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