A Russellville man was sentenced Tuesday to prison after a Cole County jury found him guilty of charges in connection with a June 2015 assault.
Cole County Judge Jon Beetem sentenced Brett Bergman, 26, to seven years in prison for an armed criminal charge. He also sentenced him to 10 years for first-degree domestic assault, but placed him on probation instead of prison time. If he violates terms of his probation, the judge could order him to serve the 10-year prison sentence.
Bergman was found guilty after a trial in December.
The victim in this case, Kristen Long (formerly Morabitto), was in the courtroom Tuesday for Bergman's sentencing.
The incident occurred in the 5400 block of Simpson Street in Russellville, according to court records.
Long was found in a bedroom with the side of her face swollen and several lacerations on her arms and face. Bergman had a fractured right hand.
When asked if he could remember what happened, Bergman said he couldn't remember much after leaving a bar in Russellville but said he thought the female victim was cheating on him. He remembered having a conflict with her in a bedroom, and authorities found blood on the floor along with a wooden furniture leg with blood and hair that matched the victim's.
Long — who also had a laceration to the corner of her right eye, along with bruising to her shoulders and back and blood coming from her right eye — said she couldn't remember what had happened. But when asked who had caused her injuries, she said it was her then-boyfriend, Bergman.
"Life immediately following the assault still just seems like a really bad dream I couldn't wake up from," Long said in a letter she had written and read in the courtroom. "I was in the most excruciating pain in my life and probably will ever experience. I had to go live with a family friend. I was unable to bathe myself and needed assistance with almost everything. I was in constant fear that Brett was going to show up and finish what he intended to do. I knew Brett could find me.
"That is not fair. It is not fair that I have to live like this because of Brett," Long continued. "His assault left me with many scars, both inside and out. However, the one I see the most is on my ring finger. I cannot look at the ring and the promise given to me by my loving husband without seeing the reminder of what was done to me in a thoughtless, horrific act. I dread the day that my daughter asks me where my scars came from. I can cover most of my physical scars, but I cannot cover the emotional ones."
Morabito said she hopes her story can give other victims of domestic violence hope for their futures.