AUGUSTA – A former state legislator will spend 45 days in jail for pulling a gun on a stranger in a parking lot in Waterville.

Frederick Wintle, 59, pleaded guilty Thursday in Kennebec County Superior Court to a felony charge of criminal threatening.

He is to report to jail on April 17, serve 45 days and then spend the rest of a year on deferred disposition. If Wintle avoids criminal problems and meets a series of conditions during the 12-month period, he will be allowed to withdraw the felony plea and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal threatening.

The sentence then would be 364 days, all of which would be suspended except the 45 days he will have served. He would also be put on probation for one year. If he does not meet the conditions, Wintle will face a maximum of five years in prison.

The arrangement includes a written apology to the victim, Michael Seamans of Sidney.Wintle’s attorney, Leonard Sharon, said the incident was a result of mental illness in an acute or active phase, and that Wintle was involuntarily committed for treatment shortly afterward. Wintle, who was a Republican member of the House representing the Garland area, resigned on Sept. 13.

In court Thursday, he said he would try to make it up to Seamans. He apologized to the community that elected him to the Legislature.

“I would like to say I’m sorry for my behavior,” Wintle told the judge. “I’m sorry if I caused Mr. Seamans any discomfort.”

Seamans, who is a photographer for the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, chose not to attend the hearing but said later that he felt the resolution was appropriate.

Seamans said his main concern was making sure that Wintle got the help he needed and seeing that the process “didn’t put him in a place where he would be worse off afterward.”

“I wanted to ensure he was in treatment,” Seamans said.

Justice Nancy Mills approved the sentence recommended by Sharon and acting District Attorney Alan Kelley.

Wintle pointed a .22-caliber handgun at Seamans on May 21 in the parking lot of the Dunkin’ Donuts on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville.

Waterville police said that Wintle didn’t know Seamans and that Seamans did nothing to provoke Wintle.

Wintle said he was looking for the drug dealer of a dead boy’s mother in Waterville, according to Seamans. Wintle then pulled the handgun out of his waistband and pointed it at Seamans, who backed away and called police.

In October, Wintle was indicted on two felony charges in the Waterville incident — criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and reckless conduct — and on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon. The two latter charges were dismissed in exchange for the plea Thursday.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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