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Nottingham teen expected to plead to burglary, sex assault of neighbor

BRENTWOOD — A Nottingham teenager who allegedly broke into a neighbor’s home and sexually assaulted a 44-year-old woman while she slept is expected to plead guilty to charges instead of going forward with a trial.

Zachery Lajoie, 17, was indicted by a grand jury in October on two counts of burglary and misdemeanor sexual assault charges stemming from the July 31 break-in.

A judge ordered a presentence investigation by the probation department to recommend a possible sentence.

Lajoie is scheduled to change his plea and be sentenced on March 10 in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Terms of the plea deal have not been made public, but Lajoie could face up to 3½ to 7 years in prison on the burglary charge.

Police say Lajoie entered a woman’s apartment on July 31 around 5:10 a.m. looking for cigarettes when he found her asleep in her bedroom.

Lajoie then allegedly left the apartment and got a bottle of lotion from his home down the street. He returned to the apartment to find the woman still sleeping, according to court records.

Court records say that Lajoie told police that he returned to the home with the intention of having sex with the woman.

The woman woke up and found a naked young man, later identified as Lajoie, standing over her, police said.

Indictments say that Lajoie straddled the woman on the bed and held her down while assaulting her.

Lajoie faces two misdemeanor counts of sexual assault. Each charge carries up to a one-year jail term and $2,000 fine.

Lajoie was initially charged with a count of aggravated felonious sexual assault when he was arrested in July, but he was not indicted on that charge. He remains free on bail while his case is pending in court.

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