Judge orders Maine lawmaker to undergo mental evaluation after weapons charge

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Rep. Frederick L. Wintle, a first-term Republican from Garland, was not required to enter a plea in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and a felony charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.

During the proceeding, Wintle, wearing an orange jumpsuit, asked Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy if he could make a statement, but after consulting with his acting attorney, state Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport, did not speak.

Although Wintle did not make a statement in court, as he was being led from the courtroom, he offered the following unsolicited comment:

“I believe in America. I believe in God. And I believe this is going to be all right,” he said.

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As part of court-ordered bail conditions, Murphy barred Wintle from the Capitol complex. She also included conditions that Wintle not possess firearms and that he submit to a mental evaluation.

Wintle, 58, was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2010. He was arrested Saturday after he allegedly pulled a .22-caliber pistol from his waistband outside a Dunkin’ Donuts on Waterville’s Kennedy Memorial Drive and pointed it at Michael Seamans of Sidney.

The judge also ordered Wintle to have no contact with Seamans.

Seamans, who is a photographer for the Morning Sentinel newspaper, told the Bangor Daily News on Sunday that Wintle brandished the gun, which later was found by police to be loaded, within two feet of Seamans’ chest. Seamans told police that Wintle said something about a drug dealer who supplied drugs to a mother whose baby died last week at a Waterville homeless shelter.

“Quite honestly it was all nonsensical,” said Seamans of Wintle’s statements to him.

Seamans has no connection to any case Waterville police are investigating, said Waterville Police Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey.

Waterville police arrested Wintle at about 8:45 a.m. at Central Maine Motors, where witnesses said Wintle had gone after the incident. He has been held on $3,500 bail since his arrest.

On Sunday, House Speaker Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, asked the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office to bar Wintle from the State House as part of his bail conditions. Nutting said he also deactivated Wintle’s electronic entry badge for the State House.

Wintle’s next court appearance is scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 25.

Reprinted with permission from the Bangor Daily News.

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