Bail set at $25,000 for Searsmont man shot by trooper

Posted Oct. 17, 2013, at 4:15 p.m.
Leonard Maker
Waldo County Jail
Leonard Maker

SEARSMONT, Maine — Bail was set at $25,000 cash last week for Leonard Maker, the man shot on Sept. 20 at his New England Road home by a Maine state trooper who had intended to serve him with a protection from abuse order.

Maker, 42, was arrested Oct. 8, soon after he was released from Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for treatment for his injuries, according to Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton from the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office. Maker remained in custody at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, a Waldo County Jail official said Thursday.

According to a police affidavit filed Sept. 27, troopers James MacDonald and Desiree Wuthenow had been sent to serve the protection from abuse order against Maker, whom they were informed might be suicidal or homicidal. He also was wanted on five outstanding arrest warrants.

When the troopers went to the Searsmont residence, Maker came to the front door, which had a broken glass window. The officers told him through the broken window that he needed to go with them to the jail to take care of the warrants, stated the affidavit, written by Trooper Corey Smith.

Maker refused to open the door, telling the troopers he was going to get a drink of water.

“Trooper MacDonald told Maker not to move or leave the door area or he would come in after him,” the affidavit continued. “Maker lowered a curtain he had been holding and moved away from the door and out of Trooper MacDonald’s sight.”

The trooper then began trying to kick the door open, but it was difficult because Maker had apparently screwed the door shut. The affidavit said later investigation showed that Maker’s mother had told her son the police were coming to serve him with paperwork, and he knew they were going to arrest him.

MacDonald succeeded in kicking open the door, and when he stepped into the entryway, he was immediately confronted by Maker, who was pointing a shotgun at the trooper’s midsection from only inches away, according to the affidavit.

The single-shot shotgun had a slug chambered and the hammer was fully cocked and ready to fire, according to later police investigation. MacDonald went back out the door to take cover while drawing and firing his weapon around the corner, shooting Maker in the hand. Maker dropped his gun but still resisted arrest. The two men struggled inside the home, and the trooper sprayed Maker with his pepper spray. MacDonald then pushed Maker outside, where he and Wuthenow “were able to gain control of him and take him into custody,” according to the affidavit.

“Trooper MacDonald stated in an interview that when Maker appeared with the shotgun and pointed it at his midsection that he … was in fear for his life,” Smith wrote. “Maker in an interview acknowledged that he was not actually suicidal but had been depressed, knew he was going back to jail, and when he grabbed the shotgun and confronted the trooper he … had not really thought about what he was going to do.”

Maker told investigators that he was trying to buy himself more time to think before he went back to jail.

“Maker also stated that he did not blame the trooper for shooting him and stated that the trooper did the only thing he could have done in the situation that Maker created,” the affidavit concluded.

Maker has been charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, reckless conduct with a firearm and refusing to submit to arrest. MacDonald was placed on administrative leave, standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting.

The Maine attorney general’s office is investigating the shooting.

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