AUGUSTA — A Winthrop man initially charged by police with kidnapping and raping a woman after holding a knife to her neck was sentenced to nine months in prison on lesser charges in a plea deal made after allegations police mishandled evidence.

Jon L. Westerlund Jr., 38, was arrested by Winthrop police in July 2020 and charged with gross sexual assault and kidnapping, both Class A felony charges punishable by up to 30 years in prison, for a July 22, 2020, incident.

Thursday at the Capital Judicial Center, Westerlund pleaded guilty, instead, to a lesser felony charge of Class B aggravated assault after the kidnapping and gross sexual assault charges against him were dismissed.

State prosecutors struck a plea deal with Westerlund after his lawyer, Walter McKee, filed a motion seeking sanctions against the state, because he said he only received certain relevant evidence Winthrop police had a few days before the case was scheduled to go to trial Jan. 30. The evidence included 13 video tapes which included an interview of Westerlund by police, as well as numerous photographs.

As a remedy to the alleged violation of evidence discovery rules, McKee sought for the case to be dismissed, stating Westerlund would not be able to have a fair trial. McKee said the items were apparently only mentioned to state prosecutors by police Jan. 23, and given to him Jan. 24.

Rather than risk dismissal, state prosecutors made a plea deal in which Westerlund would be sentenced to seven years in prison, but with all but nine months of that sentence suspended. That means as long as he complies with the terms of his three-year probation, Westerlund will serve nine months in prison, on the aggravated assault charge.


The husband of the victim in the Winthrop case testified his wife has difficulty sleeping and fears, when they go anywhere, that Westerlund may be there. He said the nine-month sentence was not long enough and his wife was let down by authorities.

“I feel like my wife has been let down by the police department, the state, because of lack of evidence being turned in,” he said. “My wife has to live with this for the rest of her life, every day. He’s taken something from her that she will never get back. Her sense of security, of innocence, everything. I feel like she is serving a life sentence for what he did to her and that he should get the maximum punishment for this. Not only against my wife but for every woman he’s assaulted and had no remorse for.”

Westerlund was also sentenced on charges from two incidents not related to the Winthrop case, a domestic violence terrorizing charge and a domestic violence assault charge, after he pleaded guilty in those cases. Those sentences were for less than the nine month sentence, and will be served concurrently to that longer sentence.

The victim in the domestic violence terrorizing case said in court Thursday that Westerlund threatened to kill her, by cutting her with a knife, in February 2020, because he falsely accused her of having an affair.

“I feel nine months in jail is not nearly enough for him to learn his lesson,” she testified. “Hurting women is a thrill to him.”

The Kennebec Journal is not identifying the victim, or the husband of the woman in the other incident, because the newspaper does not identify victims of alleged domestic violence or sexual assault without their permission.


Discovery rules require state prosecutors to share evidence they have in cases with the defense, and police to share their evidence in cases with both prosecutors and the defense.

Superior Court Justice Deborah Cashman said the plea agreement in the case essentially made the motion for sanctions moot, because the prosecution and defense had agreed on a resolution to the case.

McKee said in his motion for sanctions that failure to provide evidence, which included recorded interviews of the defendant, victim, and multiple witnesses until a week before trial is extreme and warranted dismissal of the case. He said he requested any such evidence in the case two and a half years ago, after Westerlund was arrested.

“I was shocked when, on the eve of trial, I received multiple witness video recordings I had never been provided, including my client’s own statement no less, not to mention dozens of photos I had never seen,” McKee said Thursday. “The unfortunate sequence of last-minute events drove the resolution here.”

Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, said all evidence that a law enforcement officer collects in a case is provided to the state and defense at the same time, through an electronic discovery filing system where officers are expected to upload their evidence. She said when discovery is missing in a case it is because it was never put in the electronic filing system, and neither the district attorney’s office nor defense attorney know of such information unless it is uploaded to the system.

That apparently did not happen in this case, though Maloney did not answer questions specifically inquiring if it was Winthrop police that had the videos that were not filed until the days before the trial.


“Both parties are disadvantaged when information is not provided, but it is particularly problematic for the defendant who needs to know about all the information that law enforcement has,” Maloney said. “When more than one officer works on a criminal case sometimes miscommunication can lead to the belief that all discovery has been provided when it has not. This is not unique to a single department.”

According to an affidavit filed by Officer Paul Ferland of the Winthrop Police Department, Westerlund got a ride to his Winthrop Center Road apartment from the victim, who walked him in, after which he shut the door behind them, in July 2020.

She told police Westerlund pushed her up against the kitchen cabinets and pulled a large knife out of a drawer and held it to her neck. She said Westerlund stood and stared at her for about five minutes, then put the knife to his side and later on a counter and walked her to his couch.

She said the two went upstairs to Westerlund’s bedroom and he told her to lie down. When she did, he allegedly took an approximately 6-inch knife from the bedside stand and placed it on the pillow next to her head. She said Westerlund told her that if she tried to leave, she knew what would happen.

The victim said Westerlund then went to sleep. She said she was too afraid to do anything, so she just stayed there. When he awoke later in the morning, Westerlund allegedly started rubbing and kissing her, then undressed and sexually assaulted her.

After the alleged assault, the victim got dressed and went downstairs, she said, and Westerlund returned her car keys to her and let her leave.


Prior to the start of Thursday’s court hearing, family members of victims in the case had a heated verbal exchange with a supporter of Westerlund, with the husband of a victim in the domestic violence terrorizing case telling a man who was there with other Westerlund supporters to stop looking at his wife and trying to intimidate her. A court officer intervened and Cashman warned, later, that if attendees of the hearing couldn’t maintain courtroom decorum, they would be asked to leave.

Westerlund’s probation conditions include that he attend a certified domestic violence intervention program, not contact any of the victims, undergo evaluation for substance abuse, and not possess or use weapons or alcohol.

Maloney said the outcome of the case struck a balance between accountability and rehabilitation.

“Hopefully he is able to learn how to conduct himself without using threats and violence in his intimate relationships,” she said. “Our thoughts are with his victims, who we hope are able to heal from their trauma at the hands of Mr. Westerlund.”

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