DERBY — A man convicted of stalking and assaulting an ex-girlfriend faces up to four years in prison after taking a plea deal in Superior Court Monday.
Richard Vitale, 54, pleaded guilty under the Alford doctrine before Judge Peter McShane to two counts of first-degree stalking and single counts of third-degree assault and violating a protective order.
Under the Alford doctrine, a defendant doesn’t agree with all of the prosecution’s accusations but concedes that a conviction is likely if the case went to trial.
Prosecutor Marjorie Sozanski said the assault charge dated back to Jan. 26, when Derby police were sent to the home of Vitale’s ex-girlfriend.
The ex-girlfriend told police Vitale had come to the home to retrieve some belongings.
Afterward, as she was walking behind him, he turned around and hit her in the face, Sozanski said.
After his arrest in that case Feb. 23, a judge issued a protective order mandating that Vitale stay away from his ex-girlfriend.
But Sozanski said Vitale parked across the street from her house Feb. 17 and April 3.
“The defendant did this on numerous occasions, causing her to fear for her safety as he was watching her and lying in wait,” Sozanski said.
Under the terms of the plea deal, Vitale will be sentenced to an eight-year prison term to be suspended after a maximum of four years behind bars and three years probation.
Vitale’s lawyer, John A. Ferranti, can ask the judge to sentence Vitale to only one year in prison.
Vitale has been locked up his most recent arrest April 3, according to Correction Department records.
Judge McShane continued the case to Dec. 3 for sentencing.