AUGUSTA — A former state legislator was indicted Friday in connection with a May 21 incident in which he is accused of pulling a gun on a stranger in a parking lot in Waterville.

Frederick L. Wintle, 58, was a Republican member of the House representing the Garland area at the time. He resigned his post Sept. 13.

A grand jury sitting in Kennebec County Superior Court handed up the indictment on charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, reckless conduct and carrying a concealed weapon.

An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it is an indication that sufficient evidence is present to proceed with formal charges and a trial in Superior Court.

Wintle allegedly pointed a .22-caliber handgun at Michael 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, who did nothing to provoke the attack as he stopped for coffee on his way to work. Seamans is a photographer for the Morning Sentinel.

Wintle’s colleagues reported his behavior had been out of character several months before his May 21 arrest in Waterville, and he had 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.

Bail conditions set after his arrest in Waterville banned him from being at the State House without the written permission of House Speaker Robert Nutting, R-Oakland.

Wintle has been free on $3,500 cash bail while the charges are pending. He will be arraigned on the charges in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Wintle’s attorney, Leonard Sharon, has said Wintle’s actions were the result of a mental breakdown. Wintle underwent a psychological evaluation while he was being held on the charges, and Sharon said Wintle remains in treatment.

Sharon previously said he wanted to resolve the case in a way that would allow Wintle to avoid a felony conviction; he has engaged in talks with the district attorney.

“We had made an attempt earlier with Mr. Wintle’s attorney to resolve it and weren’t able to,” District Attorney Evert Fowle said after the indictments were made public.

The criminal threatening and the reckless conduct charges are both felonies, carrying maximum jail sentences of up to five years.

Wintle, a 20-year Air Force veteran, has no criminal record.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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