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Former Ossipee man convicted in ex-girlfriend’s Bartlett ice-pick stabbing seeks early release

Union Leader Correspondent

February 08. 2018 9:13PM
DENNIS FREDA (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

OSSIPEE — A man convicted of stabbing his ex-girlfriend with an ice pick in Bartlett in 2006, then setting fire to a Maine cottage owned by her family was back in court Wednesday seeking early release from prison.

Judge Amy Igantius is expected to rule on the matter at a later date.

Dennis Freda, 58, formerly of Ossipee, had soaked the circa-1818 Bar Harbor cottage with gasoline and set it ablaze in what his former lawyer said was a suicide bid.

He was hospitalized suffering from smoke inhalation after rescuers dragged him unconscious from the second floor of the cottage.

Freda was sentenced to eight years in a Maine prison for arson and negotiated a plea deal in New Hampshire, where he faced charges of attempted murder and first-degree assault in the stabbing of his girlfriend.

In September 2009, Freda pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree assault and was sentenced to 7½ to 15 years on the first charge and from 4 years, 11 months to 9 years, 10 months on the second.

Under the terms of the negotiated plea, 2½ years of the minimum was suspended on the second sentence and both prison terms were to be served consecutively.

Department of Corrections spokesman Jeff Lyons said Freda was paroled from the first sentence after serving 7½ years and began serving his second sentence on Jan. 16.

Public Defender John Bresaw said Freda’s criminal behavior was the result of a cocktail of medications he was prescribed to treat depression and anxiety and that since his imprisonment he has engaged in mental health counseling and has an aftercare plan in place to follow upon release.

Freda also has availed himself of educational programs during his incarceration, Bresaw said.

Assistant Carroll County Attorney Kimberly Tessari, in opposing the request for early release, said the case was resolved via a fully negotiated plea and urged the court to give weight to the many factors the state used in making its original recommendation.

The prosecutor said the victim remains so terrified of Freda that she was unwilling to appear in court and has obtained a domestic violence order of protection if he is released.

Freda has made no effort to contact his victim, and if freed, has no plans to live in the area, his lawyer said.

A woman who identified herself as Freda’s sister-in-law told the judge she had flown in from California to attend the hearing and represented that she and her husband would supervise Freda upon his release and help him rebuild his life.

His aunt also addressed the court, recounting that Freda has the strong support of his extended family, who want him back in their lives.

Bresaw noted that the bench in the front row of the courtroom was filled with Freda’s family and friends, testament to their support.

Under the terms of the negotiated sentence, Freda’s minimum release date is Dec. 10, 2021.

Judge Igantius said she had read the many letters that had been written in support of Freda’s release and will issue a written ruling at a later date.

Crime Ossipee North Conway

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