Former police officer pleads guilty to hunting, drug charges

Posted Sept. 12, 2012, at 8:33 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 12, 2012, at 11:21 a.m.

AUBURN, Maine — A former police officer charged with hunting-related crimes in Maine and Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges in connection with deer hunting and a drug-related felony.

Everett H. “Lenny” Leonard, 61, of Turner pleaded guilty in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Monday to two charges of driving deer, each punishable by up to six months in jail. He agreed to a sentence of one week on each count, to be served at the same time.

He also pleaded guilty to a new charge, not brought by a grand jury, of unlawful furnishing of scheduled drugs.

For that charge, he agreed to a sentence of three years in prison, with all but 90 days suspended. He will be allowed to argue before a judge at sentencing that he serve less jail time. He plans to seek home confinement for any actual jail time due to a medical condition, said his attorney, William Cote.

Leonard had been scheduled to go to trial later this month on multiple hunting- and drug-related charges.

A judge recently allowed the return of his cameras and other electronic equipment seized when he was charged last year with crimes in connection with illegal hunting activities in 2010 in Turner, Leeds and Auburn.

Leonard was also seeking to have returned to him an all-terrain vehicle and a security camera, but prosecutors didn’t agree. Leonard, through his attorney Cote, said his wife needed the four-wheeler to get around their property and the camera was needed for personal safety. Justice MaryGay Kennedy scheduled a hearing during which witnesses are expected to testify in an effort to determine whether those items were seized illegally.

When Leonard and his son, Everett T. Leonard, 33, were arrested earlier this year, police seized hundreds of pounds of deer meat, firearms, deer antlers, bows and arrows, spotlights, a mounted hawk and owls, a computer, documents and other hunting-related equipment from their homes.

Charges handed up by an Androscoggin County grand jury against the older Leonard include four felony counts of unlawful trafficking of oxycodone in Turner in September and November; two counts of driving deer on Nov. 18 and Nov. 20 in Turner, in which he is accused of participating in a group hunt to purposely drive deer toward a group of three or more people; one count of trapping without a license; and one count of indecent conduct, accused of purposely exposing himself to someone with the purpose of alarming that person.

Prosecutors in Maine had postponed their pending case in this state while awaiting the completion of prosecution against the two Leonards in Pennsylvania, where they were convicted of multiple hunting-related crimes. A district attorney there called the Leonard cases “one of the most egregious” hunting-related criminal cases in that region.

Everett H. Leonard was sentenced to 15 days to two months in prison plus 18 months of probation. He was also fined $2,300.

He pleaded guilty to five illegal killings and a dozen other game violations, including road hunting, loaded firearms in vehicles, killing deer at night and license violations. He had faced up to seven years in prison and up to $43,000 in fines and costs.

According to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, Everett H. Leonard was certified in September 1976 as a full-time law enforcement officer, during his employment with the Auburn Police Department where he began working in January 1976.

According to Auburn City Manager Glenn Aho, Leonard left in September 1978 to accept a patrol officer position with the town of Mechanic Falls. According to town records in Mechanic Falls, Leonard served as chief from Dec. 24, 1978, to March 1981.

The Criminal Justice Academy had no further information on Leonard’s employment as a police officer in Maine.

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