BRENTWOOD — A Newburyport, Mass., man who threatened a woman with a box cutter outside a North Hampton grocery store received a suspended prison sentence on the condition that he receives inpatient mental health treatment. William Larochelle, 32, of 132 High St., pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery on Monday in Rockingham County Superior Court.
He received a two- to 10-year prison sentence. Prosecutors agreed to suspend the minimum term of Larochelle’s sentence if he receives inpatient mental health treatment.
The sentence handed down on Monday was the result of a negotiated plea deal.Charges of attempted kidnapping, theft and criminal threatening were dropped as part of the agreement.
Prosecutors will have the option to jail Larochelle within the next nine years if he doesn’t comply with the terms of his sentence.
Larochelle could have faced 7½ to 15 years in prison had he been convicted at trial.
Larochelle has been jailed since he was arrested by North Hampton police on Sept. 20.
Police said the woman Larochelle targeted had been retrieving items from her vehicle while parked in front of a Shaw’s supermarket. Larochelle approached with a box-cutter-style knife and tried to force the woman into a car, according to a police affidavit.
“Give me a ride to Maine or I will cut you,” he allegedly told the woman.
Larochelle then climbed into the woman’s car through the driver’s side door and sat in the passenger side, but the woman refused to get in, the woman told police.
He climbed back into the driver’s seat and tried to start the woman’s car. Police believe he may have had trouble operating a standard transmission, according to court documents.
The woman fled and called out to some men in the parking lot for help.
Larochelle ran from the vehicle into woods across the street, according to police.
Police from area departments cordoned off a wooded area near the supermarket on Lafayette Road. Larochelle was found in woods near Fern Road.
He put his hands in the air and surrendered, police said. The victim later identified Larochelle by his booking photo, police said. Larochelle was ordered to have no contact with the victim. He was also barred from entering Shaw’s supermarket in North Hampton.