Judge: Former Litchfield man can avoid jail

NASHUA – For nearly 20 years, Joseph Hanby was a “kind man who enjoyed the simple things” in life and was a “significant person” in the life of the woman he was accused of threatening to shoot last year.

That was when Hanby’s life had begun “spiraling out of control,” the woman wrote in a victim impact statement that a state victims advocate read aloud during Hanby’s plea and sentencing hearing Friday in Hillsborough County Superior Court South.

Hanby, 42, most recent address of 4 Gillis St. in Nashua, was charged with a felony count of domestic violence-criminal threatening for telling the woman on June 16, 2017 that he would shoot her if she called police.

But Judge Charles Temple, after taking into consideration the woman’s statement, along with input by Hanby’s lawyer, attorney Marc Guthro, and the prosecutor, Assistant County Attorney Michele Battaglia, accepted Hanby’s guilty plea to a misdemeanor-level offense and spared him jail time on the condition he undergoes evaluations by a licensed alcohol and drug counselor and a mental health professional.

In imposing sentence, Temple agreed that “it sounds like you’re spiraling out of control,” noting earlier references to Hanby’s descent into alcohol abuse as outlined by his attorney as well as the victim.

The alcohol and drug evaluation, often referred to as a “ladac” evaluation, is a better option for Hanby than a stint in jail, Temple said.

“I watched your reaction … I saw someone taking everything in,” Temple told Hanby, referring to the reading of the victim’s statement. “It appears that alcohol has profoundly impacted your professional life, your family life.

“It’s time for you to get assessed. It’s time for you to get a handle on your life,” Temple added.

The sentence calls for a 12-month jail sentence, all suspended for one year, on the condition of good behavior and obtaining the evaluations. Temple set a review hearing for May 1 in the Nashua court.

In her statement, the victim wrote that she reached the point where she “could no longer live this way … the verbal assaults, the character assassination … I was exhausted.”

Hanby, she said, “needs supportive care. He’s been fighting (an alcohol problem) for too long.

“Joe is not a bad man. He’s a sick man,” the woman wrote in her statement.

“He has so many people who love him.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.