FARMINGTON — A Eustis woman pleaded guilty in a Farmington court Tuesday to using a BB air rifle to threaten a man walking his dog near her home last year.

Marcia L. Higgins, 65, entered her plea to criminal threatening, based on her belief that she is not guilty but thinks that based on the evidence or other considerations a plea bargain is in her best interest.

Higgins entered a 12-month delayed sentencing agreement Tuesday. Conditions include no possession or use of dangerous weapons and random searches for them. 

She initially pleaded no contest, but under the rules of a delayed sentencing agreement, a defendant must enter a guilty plea, according to Judge Harold Stewart.

A misdemeanor charge of threatening display of weapon was dismissed in the plea agreement.

Higgins and Ron Cusson of Eustis lived in the same neighborhood at the time of the incident Nov. 28, 2017.

According to Franklin County Deputy Brad Scovil’s report in 2017,  Higgins came out on her porch and pointed the air rifle at the man and accused him of allowing his dog to get into her bird food, with the implied threat of shooting him if they did not move away. She had thrown food on the ground to feed some crows, Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. said the day after the incident.

Scovil seized the air rifle.

Higgins has no criminal history, Deputy District Attorney James Andrews told the court.

Cusson told the court that the deal being discussed in court was too lenient. He said he saw a rifle pointed at him and he was threatened while he was walking his dog. 

“With a flick of a trigger I would not be here right now,” Cusson said. “I feel that it was a lot more serious than you people are discussing here.” 

Higgins’ attorney, Stephen Arner, said the defense disagreed with Cusson’s account. He also said the record would show there was some prior contact between the two.

If Higgins does adhere to the delayed sentencing agreement she will be able to withdraw her plea to the charge and plead to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct in Aug. 13, 2019, Stewart said.

If she does not abide by the agreement she faces up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

The state will keep the BB gun as evidence until the case is closed.

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Marica Higgins (Franklin County Detention Center)

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