AUGUSTA — A former legislator is scheduled to plead guilty today in Kennebec County Superior Court to charges he held a stranger at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Waterville Dunkin’ Donuts.

Frederick L. Wintle, 59, of Garland, was charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, reckless conduct and carrying concealed weapon after being arrested May 21.

At the time, Wintle was a Republican legislator representing District 24, which serves Athens, Charleston, Dexter, Garland, Harmony and Ripley, in the Maine House of Representatives. He resigned his post in September.

Wintle’s attorney, Leonard Sharon, told Justice Nancy Mills on Tuesday he had worked out a deal with the prosecutor, Acting District Attorney Alan Kelley, but that the victim, Michael Seamans, had yet to be contacted about a proposed disposition. Seamans is a photographer for the Morning Sentinel.

Sharon also asked the judge whether a plea could be entered and a sentencing hearing set for a later date. Mills said she would agree to that.

The criminal threatening and reckless conduct charges are felonies, each carrying a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.

Kelley later said he and Sharon are still trying to agree on a disposition.

“We anticipate it will be a plea,” Kelley said.

If Wintle opts not to go ahead with a plea, his case will go to jury selection on Thursday, Kelley said.

Wintle allegedly pointed a .22-caliber handgun at Seamans, of Sidney, in the parking lot of Dunkin’ Donuts on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville.

Waterville police who investigated the incident said Wintle didn’t know Seamans and that Seamans did nothing to provoke the attack as he stopped for coffee on his way to work.

Wintle’s colleagues reported his behavior had been out of character several months before his arrest in Waterville.

He had also been issued a trespass notice to keep him away from the office of the executive director of the Legislature after Wintle had complained repeatedly about the condition of the U.S. flag flying over the State House. Capitol Police said he was accosting office staff.

Sharon has said that Wintle’s actions were the result of a mental breakdown.

Sharon previously said he wanted to resolve the case in a way that would allow Wintle to avoid a felony conviction. Wintle spent some time in jail and has undergone psychological treatment since his arrest.

Wintle — a 20-year Air Force veteran — has no criminal record. He is free on bail.

 

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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