AUGUSTA — An Augusta man pleaded guilty Monday morning to charges stemming from a June 14 incident in which he threw an ax at his neighbor.

Gardner Scott Stover

Gardner Scott Stover, 59, threw the ax at John Dumas through a window of Dumas’ house, off Divided Lane in Augusta.

Stover also threw rocks through other windows of the house and placed dog excrement in cooking grills on the property, according to a state prosecutor.

Stover pleaded guilty to Class C felony charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and aggravated criminal mischief.

The state will dismiss a third charge related to the June 14 incident, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, according to prosecutor Tyler LeClair, an assistant district attorney.

The guilty pleas came on the morning a jury trial on the three charges was scheduled to begin at Capital Judicial Center. A jury was in the courthouse but did not enter the courtroom because Stover had changed his pleas from not guilty to guilty before the trial got underway.

Had the case gone to trial, LeClair said, Augusta police officers were prepared to testify Dumas had told them Stover woke him up by revving a vehicle engine. Then, while Dumas recorded Stover’s actions on his cell phone from inside the residence, Stover placed dog excrement inside three grills on the property.

Stover then knocked on the victim’s door and said, “Come out and play, Johnny,” while smashing a fist into his other hand, according to police.

After that, Stover hit a window at Dumas’ house with an ax and then threw the ax through the window, police said. The ax did not hit Dumas.

Dumas also threw rocks through some of Dumas’ windows, including one rock that reportedly broke the window on a wood stove.

LeClair said Stover caused an estimated $6,200 in damage to Dumas’ house, breaking four windows and damaging siding.

Stover’s lawyer, Andrew Dawson, said the ax was thrown in a lunging way, not like a tomahawk, a distinction he said was important.

Stover said he only placed dog excrement inside two grills on the property, not three.

“I know what I did. It was two barbecues,” he told Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen.

Class C felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison.

Stover was indicted by a grand jury in August. He was not sentenced Monday, but will likely be sentenced in early December, after lawyers for both sides present sentencing memorandums.

Stover remains free on bail until sentencing.

Divided Lane, where the incident took place, is off Mud Mill Road in Augusta.

In 2004, Stover was sentenced to a year in jail on charges of reckless conduct and driving to endanger — but was acquitted on six other charges — following a 2002 incident in which he was alleged to have chased a neighbor around the yard with a truck.

That case involved a longstanding boundary dispute with neighbors that included several calls to police, with both side alleging harassment.


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