A Portland man pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges stemming from a Bayside altercation this year.

Police responded Sept. 2 to a call about a fight near the Preble Street Resource Center and learned a woman had received a non-life threatening cut to her hand. Richard McDowell, 39, was arrested in connection with the alleged stabbing. He was initially charged with aggravated assault, which is a Class B crime, or a felony.

Court documents show the case was quickly resolved with a plea hearing on Sept. 17. McDowell entered a no-contest plea to assault and disorderly conduct, which are both misdemeanors. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

Cumberland County District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck said the investigation showed McDowell could possibly raise a self-defense claim.

“Based upon the investigation that occurred after the arrest, we thought that it was more appropriate to go forward on the misdemeanor assault charge,” Sahrbeck said.

Defense attorney Andrew Edwards said the incident began with a verbal altercation between McDowell and two other people.

“The verbal altercation escalated and resulted in the woman and male violently attacking Mr. McDowell,” Edwards said. “During this physical altercation Mr. McDowell used appropriate force to defend himself. Mr. McDowell denies causing this injury and stands by this. After reviewing discovery, it was clear that the true aggressor was the male friend of the woman.”

McDowell is no longer incarcerated, jail records show.

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