ROCKLAND — A man formerly from Rockland was sentenced Thursday to 27 months in prison for breaking into a home in Rockland and assaulting a woman.

Raheem James Photo courtesy of Knox County Jail

Raheem James, 28, who had lived in Rockland and Machias, was sentenced Dec. 1 in the Knox County court to six years in prison with all but 27 months suspended to be followed by three years of probation for Class B burglary and Class D assault. The sentence — which had been negotiated by the district attorney’s office and defense attorney — was accepted by Justice Eric Walker.

Justice Walker advised James that the full sentence is six years and that if he violates probation when he gets out of prison, he may end up serving the entire six years.

James had broken into a home on Summer Street by going through a bathroom window of the residence in the early morning hours of April 7, 2022. He put his hands around the neck of a woman in the home.

The woman screamed and the commotion was heard by the woman’s grandson who was downstairs. James jumped out the window.

The woman said at the Dec. 1 sentencing hearing that she was awakened to a masked man in her home.

“You invaded my home, You stripped us of a feeling of safety,” the woman said via Zoom to James during the Dec. 1 hearing. “This was a horrendous ordeal. That was the scariest time of my life.”

The grandson confronted James outside the home but the suspect left.

Rockland police investigated and got a DNA sample off the screen of the bathroom window and the grandson was able to identify James from a photo lineup.

James was on probation at the time of the home invasion for a burglary that occurred in Rockland in 2020.

An affidavit filed in court by Rockland police also pointed out that prior to the April incident, police had received complaints that he was trespassing at the Trade Winds Motor Inn in Rockland and inside the McLain School in Rockland, the administrative offices of Regional School Unit 13.

The woman said she knows James’ family and said she hopes he gets the help he needs.

Defense attorney Jennifer Cohen said James had suffered from an anxiety disorder since he was a youth. He injured himself during high school and was prescribed a painkiller that the defense lawyer said began his long journey into substance abuse disorder.

James had been sentenced in February 2021 in the Knox County court to three years in jail with all but nine months suspended for a May 31, 2020, burglary at a home in Rockland He was also placed on probation for two years and ordered to pay $747 in restitution. He was also sentenced at that hearing and given concurrent lesser sentences for two counts of theft, and one count of attempted burglary in Rockland.

James had been arrested in August 2020 by Rockland police. His arrest came after Rockland Police Chief Christopher Young met with residents of the Masonic and Grace streets neighborhood about break-ins and told them the department’s top priority was to solve the cases.