A Belfast man who earlier this year pleaded guilty to attempted murder, kidnapping and robbery was sentenced July 14 in Waldo County Superior Court to more than four decades in prison.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm sentenced Stanley Ward, 23, to 50 years in prison, with five years suspended, plus four years of probation. That is the total sentence for all three charges. Ward was also ordered to pay $10,266 in restitution.

The crimes for which Ward was sentenced occurred last November, when, according to police reports and court documents, he broke into a Belfast woman’s home, demanded she give him money, then kidnapped her and took her to a location in the town of Knox, where he stabbed her, slashed her throat and left her for dead.

Hjelm said the “magnitude of the ferocity and violence” of Ward’s crimes, Ward’s apparent lack of remorse and the effect the crime had on the victim and her family were all things he took into consideration when determining Ward’s sentence.

Ward’s family and friends and Ward’s victim — 73-year-old Patricia Moss — attended what defense attorney Jeremy Pratt described as a “very emotional” hearing. Many of those in attendance Wednesday afternoon spoke on behalf of either Ward or Moss, and Moss herself was one of those who spoke.

Because the Journal typically does not name victims, Moss has not been named in previous articles regarding this case. After she spoke in court July 14 the Journal contacted Moss for permission to identify her in this story, and she agreed, saying she no longer felt like a victim.

Pratt, who declined to say much about the sentence handed down by Hjelm, said his client planned to appeal the sentence.

During the sentencing, which lasted about three hours, Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker recounted the course of the crime from beginning to end and presented police video taken less than 24 hours after Ward left Moss for dead. Walker said the purpose of the video, in which Ward walks police through the crime scenes and helps police re-enact events of the evening, was to emphasize Ward’s “utter lack of remorse.” Later, Hjelm commented on Ward’s emotionless demeanor in the video, noting that it was “just as if he was talking about the weather.”

Police reports and court documents show that on Nov. 24, 2009 Ward went to Moss’s home and asked her for money. Moss invited Ward in, asked how she could help and reportedly offered to find him a job doing yard work. Ward became angry, assaulted Moss, held a knife to her throat and demanded money from her.

Moss gave Ward cash, and he then bound her hands together with duct tape, forced her into her car and drove her to an unknown location. When he demanded more money from Moss, she offered to write him a check but said her checkbook was at home. They returned to the residence and she wrote him a check for $300, and then Ward forced her back into her car and drove to a trailer on a dirt road near Dutton Pond in Knox.

According to police, Ward then forced Moss into the trailer, where he stabbed her, sliced her throat and then left her there. As part of his summary of the case in court on July 14, Walker said Ward deposited Moss’ check and had a couple of beers and smoked some marijuana after leaving her in the trailer.

After losing consciousness for a time, Moss managed to crawl out of the trailer and onto the dirt road. While crawling along the dirt road, she at one point rolled into the ditch because she heard a vehicle approaching and thought it might be Ward.

Moss saw a vehicle that looked like Ward’s truck heading for the trailer she had just left, and soon saw Ward emerge from the truck and enter the trailer. He left a few minutes later. Moss continued crawling until she finally reached Route 137, where she was discovered by a passerby and an ambulance was called.

Ward was arrested at his Patterson Hill residence in Belfast the following morning. He later told police he’d been planning his crimes for two days, and that his original target was another older woman from Northport. When Ward discovered that woman was out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday, he decided to instead target Moss.

Walker said both Moss and the woman from Northport had previously hired Ward’s father to do their landscaping work.

Among those who spoke on behalf of Moss at the July 14 sentencing were Cynthia Smearer, who, along with her husband, discovered Moss on the side of Route 137 on that night last November and helped her to safety, and Dr. John Gage, the Waldo County General Hospital ER doctor who first attended to Moss.

Smearer described her encounter with Moss on the evening of the crime, including Moss’ condition. She said Moss “was covered in blood and was so cold and soaked.”

“The image of her that night — of the ends of her fingers all raw and bleeding from dragging herself on the ground — has been burning my brain,” Smearer said.

Gage described Moss’ wounds, which included a stab wound and three slashes to her throat. As a result of her injuries, Ward said, Moss lost front teeth, lost all hearing in one ear and suffered nerve damage in her shoulder.

Moss also addressed the court, describing the specific physical effects of Ward’s crime and the psychological and emotional pain it has caused her.

“It’s been over seven months,” she said. “I feel like it should all be over, but it really isn’t. There are times that, when I’m almost asleep or almost awake, I hear the soft voice of Stanley Ward saying, ‘Are you bleeding yet? Are you dead yet? Yeah, you’re dead now.’ Those words stay with me.”

Moss talked briefly about her injuries, which she said were permanent and would influence the rest of her life. According to Moss and her friends, prior to this crime, she had led an active life and enjoyed sailing and kayaking adventures.

“I’ve given up the lifestyle I looked forward to,” said Moss.

Walker asked Hjelm to consider a sentence of 70 years in prison, with 30 years suspended and eight years of probation. Broken down, Walker asked for 30 years for the attempted murder charge, 20 years for robbery — with 10 of those years stacked on top of the attempted murder charge and 10 of them suspended — and 20 years for the kidnapping charge, all suspended. That would have resulted in an effective prison sentence of 40 years.

Pratt asked for a concurrent sentence of 18 years in prison for all three charges, with nine years suspended, four years of probation and 100 hours of community service. At the beginning of the sentencing, Pratt told the court he felt the case should be dismissed because a law enforcement official had interacted with Ward without Pratt’s consent. Pratt also urged Hjelm to take into account Ward’s lack of a criminal history.

According to Pratt, a police officer interacted with Ward after Ward’s guilty plea in April. He did so without Pratt’s consent, which Pratt said was “well beyond the officer’s authority” and amounted to a constitutional violation.

Walker told Hjelm the police officer was attempting to obtain Ward’s high school records and was told he would need a written consent of release from Ward before he could obtain them. The police officer then sought Ward for his signature, which Ward refused to do. Walker said it was “simply a mistake on the officer’s part.” Even though Hjelm said Ward was “absolutely right not to cooperate” under those circumstances, Pratt’s request for a case dismissal was denied.

Several supporters of Ward, including his teenage girlfriend (she was 16 when Ward committed the crimes last fall), his older sister, Letitia Ward, and his mother, Fern Ward, spoke in his defense. Each expressed her sorrow for what had happened but testified to Ward’s true character, which they described as being very different from the Ward who committed this crime.

“There was no sign of any of this happening,” Ward’s girlfriend said. She described him as kind, loving, always there to help her and her family.

“He knows what he did wrong,” she said. “He has to live with this his whole life. That’s punishment in itself.”

Ward, who wiped tears from his face while his family spoke, also read a statement to the court. At the beginning of his statement, he apologized for what he had done to Moss, and he acknowledged the pain he caused her and the people closest to him. “If I could take it back, I would,” he said.

Ward additionally expressed regret that he would no longer be able to do the things he enjoyed and for the pain he caused his family. Ward told the court that what bothered him most was that he would not be able to have children with his girlfriend.

“When I get out I’m going to change my life,” Ward said. “I hope to one day be the kind of person my kids could look up to.”

Pratt asked the court to consider Ward’s lack of criminal history, the level of Ward’s cooperation with police, the fact that Ward took responsibility for his crime and the support from family and friends.

“The reason this support is important,” said Pratt, “is that they will all be there to help Mr. Ward integrate back into society when he gets out of jail.”

Walker, in his final comments to the court, expressed astonishment at Ward’s lack of remorse.

“He showed regret, but no remorse,” said Walker. “Ward told the court he wishes he could take back his crime so he could move on with his life. This true lack of remorse is scary. It shows he is only thinking of himself.

“He isn’t sorry for his crime. He is sorry for getting caught and his remorse remains to be seen.”

Hjelm, in handing down the sentence, said the magnitude of Ward’s crime outweighed mitigating factors such as Ward’s cooperation with police and his lack of criminal history.

Hjelm called the crime “unusually serious,” and said he felt Ward exploited Moss’ generosity and put her through “psychological torture.” Hjelm also echoed what had been expressed by Walker and by Moss’ supporters regarding her will to live, commending her “strength, resilience and courage.”

Walker said he and Moss were “more than happy” with the sentence, and that he felt it was appropriate, given the nature of the crime.

“I’ve been doing this job now for 16 years,” Walker said. “I’ve never heard of or seen a crime as bad as this.

“There are a lot of residents in Belfast who did not lock their doors previous to this. They felt it was safe enough to leave them unlocked. This crime, the randomness and savageness of it, really shocked a lot of people.”

Smearer said she wished Ward’s sentence were longer but that “it was the best we could get.”

“Hopefully he won’t be out for a while and do this to anyone else,” she said. “I don’t know if he could ever change. Nobody knows where it came from. How can you stop something when you don’t know where it came from? He’s a very cold person.”

Pratt, who declined to comment extensively, said he planned to file paperwork to appeal the sentence within four to five business days.

“Mr. Ward is upset and disappointed,” Pratt said.

Police presence was requested at the hearing, according to Belfast Police Chief Jeffrey Trafton, as a way to avoid confrontation between supporters of Moss and Ward’s family and friends. Trafton said such a confrontation had taken place at one of Ward’s previous court appearances.

Trafton said he and another officer were present in the courthouse July 14 at the conclusion of the sentencing, but no confrontations took place. Court officials made a point of having the two sides exit the courtroom separately.