PORTLAND, Maine — An Arundel man who walked into the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in February using a walking cane sword and carrying a throwing star and knife was sentenced in U.S. District Court to time served.
Elmer C. Pepin, 43, was stopped Feb.7 at the building’s security checkpoint and the weapons were discovered. He was charged with possession of dangerous weapons in a federal facility, which carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby sentenced Pepin to time served since he had been in custody since May 28, amounting to 43 days.
“He didn’t view the objects himself as weapons,” his attorney J. Hilary Billings of Portland said Wednesday morning before the sentencing.
Two of the weapons Pepin had on him he carried for sentimental reasons, his lawyer said.
“The folding knife he was in possession of was something that had been given to him by his grandfather and the throwing star was an object his daughter had purchased at a yard sale — he carried that around too,” Billings said.
Pepin’s daughter, Shiloh, died at the age of 10 in October 2009. She gained national attention for having sirenomelia, or “mermaid syndrome.” Her lower extremities were conjoined to form one and was one of only three known cases in the world to survive beyond infancy, Billings said. Elmer Pepin was her primary caregiver.
“The [sword walking] cane — he walks with a cane — was actually one he had borrowed from someone else that morning because his was broken,” the attorney added.
Pepin had been carrying around the knife and throwing star for years, he said.
Billings said Pepin had a lot of emotional baggage following his daughter’s death.
“He’s been reeling emotionally since that time,” he said.
The weapons were taken away from Pepin who continued into the building for his disability hearing, which was granted, his lawyer said.
“He didn’t have an axe to grind when he entered that building,” Billings said.
Pepin was released on $10,000 bail in mid-March, but it was later revoked in May after he violated his bail conditions by smoking marijuana and pretended at least two times to be his relatives when called by his probation officers.
A warrant for his arrest was issued on May 22 and he was arrested on May 28. Two days later, Pepin entered a guilty plea to the federal weapons charge against him.
Pepin, who was convicted in York County on April 2, 2012 for forgery, was sentenced to one year in jail with all suspended and two years of probation, and he was also ordered to pay $1,568 in restitution, Billing said.
“He was on probation for that offense at the time of the occurrence of the event for this federal charge,” his lawyer said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig M. Wolff prosecuted the case.
BDN reporter Alex Barber contributed to this story.