A Maine man who served a short sentence for two domestic violence cases, described by former partners as nearly deadly

A Maine man who served a short sentence for two domestic violence cases, described by former partners as nearly deadly, pleaded guilty on Monday to a third case, agreeing to serve at least five years in prison for an assault in 2022 on another former girlfriend, a prosecutor in Maine told NBC News.

Christopher Pelkey, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault and one count of domestic violence criminal threatening, both felonies, said Chelsea Lind, an assistant district attorney in Penobscot County.

Pelkey, who had previously pleaded guilty to misdemeanors in prior cases and had been sentenced to just over a month in jail, was charged with two other felonies related to domestic violence during the 2022 assault.

The woman in this case, Andrea Stevens, told NBC News that she is not thrilled with the sentence, which includes four years suspended and three years of probation.

Pelkey could serve the suspended time if he violates probation.

Stevens, 38, said she feared the uncertainty of a trial process that could have ended in acquittal, a jury verdict, or a shorter prison sentence for Pelkey.

"That was a big factor" in agreeing to the deal, she said, citing the sentences Pelkey received in previous cases.

Pelkey previously pleaded guilty to domestic violence cases involving Ashley Alaimo and Persis Smith.

"He has no time for Ashley," Stevens said. "He barely has any time for Persis."

During the 2015 assault on Ashley Alaimo, she alleged that Pelkey broke into their home, knocked her down, and "choked her so hard that she couldn't breathe at all," according to arrest affidavits obtained after the incident.

Pelkey allegedly grabbed a shard of broken glass and threatened to kill Alaimo. When she tried to escape, he allegedly strangled her and repeatedly covered her nose and mouth with his hand, according to the arrest affidavits.

According to arrest affidavits, Pelkey denied the allegations and accused Alaimo of violence. He faced five charges, including two felonies, and later pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, receiving a 10-month sentence with all but 30 days suspended.

In Smith's case, she accused him of choking her until she couldn't breathe, wetting herself and falling to the floor, breaking her hip and damaging several ligaments as a result of the 2021 assault, according to a divorce court decision in which the judge called her allegations "credible and highly believable."

Pelkey, who admitted to authorities that he had choked Smith, according to arrest affidavits, faced four felony charges and later filed an Alford plea— a guilty plea that allows a defendant to maintain their innocence— to one count of domestic violence. He was sentenced to six months in jail with a deferred disposition of all but 10 days and two years of probation, court documents from the Belfast district court show.

In Stevens' case, she accused him of choking her until she couldn't breathe, pulling her hair, and threatening to rape her, according to arrest affidavits. Stevens also accused him of threatening to kill her and her son with a hammer, ripping her pants off and throwing her to the floor, using vulgar language, according to the documents.

After Pelkey was charged in March 2022, his probation on the Smith case was revoked, and he returned to jail.

Smith criticized the deal on Monday, saying in a statement to NBC News that offering Pelkey five years was "disgusting and shameful."

"He has not only made me a life-long disability, but left behind in all of his victims a fear that cannot be expressed in ANY words," she wrote, adding that "the blood, the injuries, and the life-changing pain that is and has come from this because it is in the system."

Alaimo also criticized the agreement, saying Pelkey has repeatedly demonstrated that he cannot function in society without causing harm to others.

"I don't know who the next woman will be, but she will die, and they are allowing this to happen," Alaimo said.