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

·8 min read

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

Oxford County Superior Court Justice Julia M. Lipez imposed a 15-year sentence on Harry Every, 52, but suspended nine years of that sentence.

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

He has served roughly 20 months in jail that will be credited toward his sentence.

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

The woman and girl who testified at Every's trial told the judge Friday that they don't expect his behavior to change once he's freed and that he poses a threat.

"This is not a matter of if 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 truly know what happened that night."

The Sun Journal does not identify victims of domestic violence.

Since the incident early in the morning of Jan. 4, 2020, she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety, she said.

"This anxiety is so severe that I have to take medicine daily," she said. "The panic attacks come out of nowhere. The nightmares are a few times a week where I wake up screaming. (And) constant looking over my shoulder."

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

"I had to go through high school," she said. "I never got 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 that a 14-year-old should have to deal with."

The girl told the judge that Every "will not change. He is a terrorizer and he does it to everyone, anyone that makes him mad. He does not know how to control himself, especially when it comes to drinking. And I believe he would try to kill us again. He should serve enough time to compensate for the trauma that he has made me deal with with."

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

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

Lipez sentenced Every on the burglary charge, which was punishable by up to 30 years in prison because it was committed with a firearm.

She imposed five-year sentences on each of the domestic violence charges to be served at the same time as the burglary and won't add any time to his sentence.

Lipez said Friday the evidence presented at trial included Every's presence at the home of the woman and girl the evening before the incident. He told the girl at about 6 p.m. that he was leaving, but would check mouse traps in the basement before he left.

Evidence at trial showed Every made arrangements "to sneak back into the home through the basement," Lipez said. He did that by tampering with the basement door and covering a basement window.

When he "surreptitiously" came back to the basement, "he was armed and the gun was loaded with three bullets," Lipez said.

Although Every was "highly intoxicated" at the time, Lipez said, he wasn't so drunk that he couldn't act in an intentional or knowing manner, a conclusion in keeping with the jury's verdict.

He waited until the woman and girl were asleep when he entered the woman's bedroom "brandishing a loaded firearm," Lipez said.

Every "threatened to kill her and to kill (the girl.) He swatted her phone away when she tried to call 911 for help. And then he pulled the trigger of that firearm twice in a very small space. The first time the gun misfired, but the second time it worked and a bullet traveled through the walls of (the woman's bedroom)."

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

The woman and girl "were able to flee — and they did have to flee by essentially jumping out a window while on the phone with 911," Lipez said.

Every then held police at bay in the home while he was armed, she said.

It took the police a "significant amount of time" to talk him out of the home, she said.

Lipez lauded the police for their "commendable deescalation techniques," she said, resulting in no injuries.

"This was a very dangerous volatile situation given that Mr. Every was armed and highly intoxicated," she said.

Overall, Lipez said, "it's miraculous that there were no injuries in this case. It really is. This was extremely dangerous behavior, extremely threatening behavior. And it really is a miracle that everyone emerged safe."

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

Every was released from jail nearly a year ago and attended a rehabilitation treatment center in Bangor, followed by time spent at a so-called sober house.

They said he appeared motivated to maintain his sobriety.

One of Every's daughters, Brittany, told the judge Friday that she was on the phone with her father shortly after the incident and before some of the responding officers had arrived at the home.

"When I talked to him that night, he was not himself. He didn't know where he was, what he did. He just had no idea and I spent hours talking him down from suicide."

She too experienced PTSD from the incident and underwent therapy, she said.

When she later met with Every while he was sober and in recovery, she said. "I saw a completely different person and a completely different father."

She and Every's counselors said he has expressed remorse for his actions.

"He's really regretful and he said that he did not want to do any harm to either one of them," she said. "I believe if he is allowed to stay out (of jail,) he's going to continue doing amazing."

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

In arriving at a sentence, Lipez said she took into account factors that favored Every, including a lifelong struggle with alcohol that started when he was 12 years old and continued until his arrest.

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

Leading up to the incident, Lipez said she found that Every had engaged in a "sustained campaign" of "manipulative and, frankly, abusive behavior on Mr. Every's part" during which he repeatedly threatened suicide in text messages to the girl.

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

Lipez agreed.

Howaniec said after the sentencing that Every "understands this was a very serious crime involving a discharged gun in a small room in the middle of the night. Had he been convicted of attempted murder he would have probably been looking at a sentence in the range of 15 to 20 years. With credit for good time he will be looking at another three years or so of incarceration. He is very remorseful for the harm he caused to his family. He looks forward to continuing his alcohol rehabilitation in prison and eventually moving on with his life."

Howaniec said he will review with Every his options for appealing 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 she wanted to thank the jury for its service.

"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 its dedicated service and response in this case."

When Every is released from prison, he will be barred from having alcohol, illegal drugs, firearms and dangerous weapons for which he can be searched at random for the four years he's on probation.

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

Every may not have any contact with the victims or their family and will be prohibited from being in Oxford County.

Lipez referenced a letter written by a man incarcerated with 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 forward, because I know that you were doing good work in there and helping other people and that's important."