January 30

Rockland woman pleads guilty to assaulting officer

Jury trial involving 2012 Rockland incident ends abruptly with plea in Kennebec County Superior Court.

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — A Rockland woman pleaded guilty Thursday to assaulting a police officer almost two years ago, abruptly ending a jury trial that began Wednesday.

Ellen M. Copeland, 47, was being tried in Kennebec County Superior Court on charges of aggravated assault, assault on an officer, refusing to submit to arrest, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

The disorderly conduct charge was dismissed in exchange for the guilty pleas to the other charges.

Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced Copeland to five years in jail, with all but 30 days suspended and three years’ probation. Copeland was ordered to pay $2,833 restitution and is required to continue with mental health counseling as a condition of probation. She is also banned from contact with Rockland Police Officer Lloyd Daniels except in his law enforcement role.

The charges all related to the same incident on March 19, 2012, in Rockland, which began when Daniels was checking on Copeland’s welfare because she was reported to be suffering from a mental health breakdown.

Copeland scratched Daniels’ cornea during the assault, according to testimony.

Copeland’s attorney Jeremy Pratt, said Copeland pleaded guilty after realizing they would not be able to pursue a defense of abnormal condition of mind.

“We decided to cut our losses,” Pratt said. “If we knew our mental health defense would be allowed, we would have continued.”

The court file indicated Copeland had a series of mental health evaluations by the State Forensic Service.

The case, which originated in Knox County Superior Court, was transferred for trial to Kennebec County.

Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody was the prosecutor.

Betty Adams — 621-5631 badams@centralmaine.com Twitter: @betadams

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