PARIS — Scott Ackley of Buckfield, accused of shooting his girlfriend in the head during an alcohol-fueled argument last April, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge in Oxford County Superior Court on Thursday.

Ackley, 41, was given a suspended six-month jail sentence and one year of probation. In addition, he is not allowed to have contact with the victim, Sharon Demayo.

He was indicted in June on felony aggravated assault, domestic violence reckless conduct and domestic violence assault charges. The assault charges were dismissed and the domestic violence attachment was dropped from the reckless conduct charge.

Ackley submitted his plea during jury selection. Earlier this week, his attorney, James Howaniec, said the case was headed to trial after defense and prosecution failed to reach an agreement. 

On Thursday afternoon, Assistant District Attorney Joseph O’Connor said the “inconsistent” evidence in the case would have made successful prosecution of the case at trial difficult. 

Howaniec said he believed the state’s case against his client was weak and he intended to bring it to trial, but the plea deal offered to Ackley was too generous to pass up. 

“My client was facing upward of 10 years in prison and when they made us an offer that includes a misdemeanor plea with no jail time, it really was something we couldn’t turn down, even though we felt strongly that the state had a pretty weak case,” Howaniec said. 

The plea deal will allow Ackley to have firearms and weapons taken from his home following the shooting returned to him, Howaniec said. 

He said his client was doing well and was excited to return to his work at Poland Spring, in Poland, where he has been on administrative leave since his arrest.

Ackley was accused of shooting Demayo in the face with a 9 mm handgun during a heated argument at the home they were sharing on Depot Street in Buckfield. Ackley and Demayo had been drinking heavily prior to the shooting, according to an affidavit from Maine State Police Detective Randall Keaten. 

According to Keaten, Demayo told police she got the handgun from her bedroom after she and Ackley returned from a local tavern on the afternoon of April 18. According to Keaten’s affidavit, Demayo appears to have been shot during a struggle with Ackley for control of the firearm.

In one interview, Demayo told police she believed she had shot herself accidentally, although in a later interview she said Ackley had taken the gun from her and shot her. Demayo and Ackley also told police that she brandished a firearm during arguments with Ackley on several previous occasions.  

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