BANGOR, Maine — A federal judge did not issue a ruling at Monday’s bail hearing for a Parkman man arrested last week on firearms charges because she said both his attorney and the prosecutor failed to make a compelling case.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuck called the government’s evidence against Michael J. DeMaria “weak,” but she also said the man’s attorney did not provide her with viable bail conditions that might help protect the public.
Kravchuk told defense attorney Stephen Smith and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Lowell that she would issue her decision in writing later this week.
DeMaria, 43, of Parkman was arrested early last week by heavily armed FBI agents and state police as he prepared to attend a divorce hearing in Dover-Foxcroft. He has been charged with two counts of illegal possession of firearms, one for being an unlawful user of a controlled substance and the other for being subject to a protection from abuse order. If convicted, DeMaria could receive up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
Lowell made the case Monday that DeMaria should be held without bail as he awaits resolution of the changes because the man poses a risk of flight and could be dangerous to others.
According to court documents, relatives told police that DeMaria is obsessed with training to fight against the government and had motion sensors and monitors placed throughout his property on Lander Road in Parkman. Relatives further claimed DeMaria was obsessed with firearms, that he carried a gun with him at all times and that he buried “go bags” containing firearms, food, and other survival supplies at strategic locations on his property.
Authorities had been keeping an eye on DeMaria since December, when his wife told police he threatened to kill her and the couple’s son. The wife obtained a temporary protection from abuse order, which required, among other things, that DeMaria vacate the home and turn over his firearms. At that time, several firearms were seized and thousands of rounds of ammunition were found.
On Jan. 1, a search warrant was executed at DeMaria’s home by state and local authorities in search of bombs and bomb-making materials. No explosives were found, but officials did discover two guns in wall safes hidden in a bathroom, which was a violation of his protection order.
DeMaria has no criminal history other than the violation of a protective order, and Smith said his client’s affinity for weapons should not be a factor in determining bail. Smith also said DeMaria’s messy divorce has complicated the case against him.
“The [government] wants to paint him as some sort of homegrown domestic terrorist,” Smith said, adding that DeMaria’s cache of weapons would be perfectly legal if not for the protection order.
Kravchuk agreed that DeMaria should not be detained simply because he has a history of gun ownership and she also agreed that the arrest affidavit contains allegations mostly from family members of DeMaria.
But the judge also said it would be hard for her to release DeMaria on bail given that there is no third party custodian who could ensure he met bail conditions.