ELLSWORTH — A Richmond man has been sentenced to serve 10 years in prison for aggravated assault in the shooting of his father last spring at the family’s camp in Township 28. A sentencing hearing was held Jan. 22 in Hancock County Superior Court.
Christopher Laliberte’s defense attorney, Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth, said he has been advised that his client’s father, David Laliberte, suffered permanent blindness from the shooting injury. David Laliberte was shot in the chest. Toothaker said he isn’t sure how the blindness occurred.
Christopher Laliberte’s prison sentence, 17 years in prison with all but 10 years suspended, was the result of a plea deal negotiated between Toothaker and Deputy District Attorney Toff Toffolon. Christopher is 24.
The state dismissed a charge of attempted murder in exchange for Laliberte pleading guilty to one count of aggravated assault, Toothaker said.
“The plea and sentence was the result of extensive negotiations between this office and the defense and included input from the court regarding the facts and the likely sentence that would result from the presentation of those facts,” said District Attorney Matt Foster. “I believe that the court imposed a sentence that was fair considering all of the factors involved in this case.”
Maine State Police Detective Tom Pickering stated in an arrest warrant affidavit that Christopher had shot his father, David Laliberte, in the chest with a .40-caliber Glock 23 handgun.
The shooting occurred around 4:20 a.m. on April 14, 2019, at the family’s camp on Upper Lead Mountain Pond Road. David Laliberte and his girlfriend, Karen, were at the camp along with another son and Christopher.
The defendant had started drinking around 3:30 p.m. on April 13 — about 12 hours before the shooting, the detective stated in the affidavit. “David and Karen were also drinking alcohol …” Pickering stated. Father and son had “squabbled” during the evening about childhood issues and other matters.
Later, David asked Christopher to leave the camp, but he was unable to do so without obtaining a key to unlock a gate on the camp road, according to the affidavit.
Christopher entered the camp, which was dark, and stood at the bottom of the stairs and called up to his father for the gate keys.
That led to another argument.
David wanted Christopher to walk up the stairs to get them and Christopher wanted David to bring the keys down to him, according to the affidavit.
The shooting occurred after Christopher realized David was walking down the stairs and backed up to give him space, according to the affidavit. Then the defendant said he felt pain on the side of his face as though he’d been hit.
At that point, Christopher said he withdrew his handgun and fired three times, hitting his father once in the chest, Pickering stated.
The young man then helped his father to a couch and began rendering aid.
“Christopher stated that when he shot David he was scared that David was going to beat him,” Pickering stated. “Christopher stated that he didn’t want this to happen and that he said he only wanted to leave.”
Justice Bruce C. Mallonee presided over the sentencing hearing.