Marybeth Banks still cannot return to her home in Pembroke without recalling the flash of a bright light and the crack of a gun aimed at her.
“I still feel terror at random times,” Banks, a ballroom dance instructor, told a judge in federal district court in Boston on Wednesday at the sentencing hearing of the man who sought to kill her at the behest of her former boyfriend.
Judge Joseph Tauro sentenced 28-year-old Dorian Membreno to 29½ years in prison, the maximum allowed under sentencing guidelines.
Membreno, of Bridgeport, Conn., had pleaded guilty in September 2011. He received the sentence after Tauro heard an emotional statement from Banks, who described the hail of gunfire that Membreno unleashed on her as she returned home from work one night in March 2010.
Two of the five bullets struck her — one in her left wrist and the other in her left bicep. The injuries required surgery and a 10-day hospital stay. She still suffers from limited dexterity in her left hand and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Banks told the court that she was shocked to learn that Membreno had agreed to kill her for a sum between $7,000 and $10,000.
“Dirty deeds done cheap,” she said.
Banks’s former boyfriend Anthony DeJoseph is serving five years in state prison on assault and gun charges stemming from two incidents in Connecticut, including a 2009 assault on Banks. He is still the target of an ongoing federal investigation and has not been charged in the murder-for-hire plot.
Membreno told police that DeJoseph had hired him and even given him a gun to use in the killing.
Membreno, a Nicaraguan immigrant whose family sat in the courtroom on Wednesday, asked Banks to accept his apologies and to “enjoy life” and “not be afraid.”
The case is notable for its rarity in Boston; most murder-for-hire plots are intercepted by law enforcement before they are carried out, said Christina DiIorio-Sterling, spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office.
Banks had taken out a protective order against DeJoseph after he allegedly beat her on New Year’s Day 2009, leaving her with several cracked ribs.
Banks left Connecticut after the alleged attack to live with her parents in Pembroke and rejoin the staff of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio.
On March 23, 2010, Membreno “tried to find an opportune time to take her life,” Assistant US Attorney Suzanne Sullivan told the court Wednesday.
Membreno tailed Banks throughout the day, following her to work and then back home, where he began firing on her before she could get out of her car, Sullivan said.
When police questioned her, Banks told them she had taken out a restraining order against DeJoseph, of Connecticut. They paired that information with an earlier tip from neighbors about a car with Connecticut license plates seen repeatedly in the area. That prompted police to look for a car with Connecticut plates.Within 15 minutes, police pulled over a Volkswagon Jetta with Membreno at the wheel, Banks said.
In the car, Membreno had pictures of Banks and a gun with one bullet remaining in its chamber, Banks said.
Membreno faced two federal charges: murder for hire and carrying, using, or possessing a firearm in connection with a crime of violence.
Banks, who was surrounded by family in court, declined to talk with reporters after the sentencing hearing.
In her testimony, she said Membreno is a menace and a “piece of garbage.”
But she said, “I am grateful his ineptitude saved my life.”