Gun suspect turns self in after using brother’s identity

Posted June 06, 2009, at 5:56 p.m.

CARMEL, Maine — When police stopped two ATVs in the center of town in mid-April for operating on a public way, Deputy Garrit McKee of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department saw one of the ATV operators throw something into the ditch.

He recovered a loaded .22-caliber handgun.

“I ended up charging the subject, who identified himself as George Cousins, with possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle,” McKee said Saturday.

Several weeks later, however, the real George Cousins called police to say he was not the guilty party and did not even own an ATV.

“After a little investigation, it was determined the suspect was George Cousins’ brother, Steven Winingar,” McKee said.

After word spread that police were searching for Winingar, 43, of Hermon, the suspect went to the home of Deputy James Kennedy and turned himself in, McKee said.

“He showed up at Deputy Kennedy’s house … and said, ‘Here I am,’” he said.

Kennedy arrested Winingar on two outstanding warrants, and later McKee charged him with aggravated forgery and possession of a firearm by a felon, both Class C felonies.

“The aggravated forgery is because Winingar signed his brother’s name to the summons, and that’s a government document,” McKee said.

The firearm charge may be downgraded because it’s still unclear whether he is a convicted felon, the deputy said.

“He claims he’s a felon,” McKee said. “That was the whole reason he pulled all this. He had felony warrants for his arrest, but at this point we haven’t been able to confirm he is a felon.”

A person convicted of a Class C crime can face a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Winingar was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury in February 2006 for operating after revocation and leaving the scene of an accident, and again in September 2006 for failure to appear, according to Bangor Daily News articles.

His record also includes a conviction in March 1996 for operating a snowmobile while under the influence of intoxicants, for which he was sentenced to four days in jail and a fine of $450.

After his arrest Thursday, Winingar was taken to the Penobscot County Jail, where he remained Sunday with a $3,000 cash bail or $2,000 cash and $10,000 surety, a jail official said.

nricker@bangordailynews.net

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