AUGUSTA — A Sidney man who threatened to kill his aunt, then showed up at her Waterville home brandishing a knife and trashed her and others’ vehicles and then had to be subdued by police using pepper balls, was sentenced Tuesday on terrorizing with a dangerous weapon and other charges.

Joshua R. McKechnie, 38, was sentenced to four years imprisonment, with all but 20 months suspended, as well as two years of probation. That means he’ll serve only 20 months in prison as long as he complies with the terms of his probation, which include that he avoid contact with the victims and receive substance abuse treatment.

Prosecutor Shannon Flaherty, assistant district attorney, said McKechnie threatened his aunt, whom he had lived with previously, as the apparent culmination of a feud with family members last year in which he became increasingly hostile toward them. He threatened her with a knife, which prompted his aunt to hide and call police.

He later arrived at her home, on May 17 last year, brandishing a knife, telling her he was there “to end it,” which Flaherty said could have meant many different things, including that he was there to end the feud, her life, or his.

“He came back with a knife … from the state’s perspective, he came to fulfill that promise, to kill her, or terrorize her and his family,” Flaherty said. “He was very angry. He wouldn’t drop the knife.”

She said when police arrived McKechnie refused to submit to arrest, and police had to use pepper balls to subdue him and take him into custody.


McKechnie’s attorney, Daniel Dube, said McKechnie’s criminal record had no violations.

He said McKechnie’s severe usage of methamphetamine, combined with his mental health issues, had compounded onto each other, prompting his criminal behavior. He said McKechnie had suicidal thoughts, and suggested his resistance to police could have been an indication he was seeking “suicide by cop.”

Dube said McKechnie needs help with his substance use disorder and wants to rebuild his life.

“Through his addiction, he’s burned every bridge, with his family, he’s burned that bridge,” Dube said. “He’s utterly alone with me here today. He seeks to limit the damage incarceration will do to his mental health and have that opportunity to rebuild his life.”

Dube said his client has already served a year in jail while awaiting resolution to his cases, and he will get credit for that time served in his sentence.

Flaherty agreed that drug addiction and mental illness are significant problems, but said they don’t justify threatening family members, or damaging their vehicles.


“We see people struggling like that (with mental illness and substance use disorder) every single day,” she said. “The difference is not every single day do those people go and threaten to kill someone with a knife, and then actually show up.”

Judge Sarah Gilbert said there was no doubt his aunt was in fear for her life. And she said he escalated the situation after police arrived by threatening to harm himself and refusing to drop the knife. She said it could have ended a lot worse.

“Whether you were fueled by hatred, a family feud, or intravenous methamphetamine use, regardless it remains senseless and I haven’t heard anything to indicate it was anything but unprovoked,” Gilbert said Tuesday from the bench at Capital Judicial Center.

In a case prior to the terrorizing incident on May 17, 2021, McKechnie in September 2020 was charged with aggravated criminal mischief for allegedly damaging a police cruiser, unlawful furnishing of scheduled drugs, methamphetamine, and unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, fentanyl powder. He also pleaded guilty to those and other charges Tuesday, including charges in Androscoggin County of criminal mischief and unauthorized dissemination of private images.

McKechnie declined to speak in court, and his victims did not attend the sentencing.

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