BELFAST, Maine — A man who was shot and injured last fall by a Maine State Police trooper was sentenced on Friday at Waldo County Superior Court for charges brought in connection with the incident.
Two troopers had been attempting to serve Leonard E. Maker, 43, of Northport with an out-of-state protection-from-abuse order on Sept. 20, 2013, when they found him at his late father’s home on New England Road in Searsmont. Trooper James R. MacDonald had learned that Maker, who recently had lost his job and whose wife and child had left him, was potentially suicidal or assaultive, according to a report on the use of deadly force that was issued in April by the Maine attorney general’s office.
So MacDonald and Trooper Desiree Wuthenow made a plan to approach him, with Wuthenow going to the front door and MacDonald to the back door of the home. They tried to get him to come outside, telling him that there were multiple warrants for his arrest, in addition to the protection order, and that he needed to leave the home.
But Maker didn’t leave, and moved away from the doorway and out of sight of the troopers. MacDonald tried with difficulty to kick the door open, later learning that the door had been screwed to the door frame, the report issued by Attorney General Janet Mills states.
“Upon forcing the door open, Trooper MacDonald was immediately confronted in a kitchen area by Mr. Maker pointing a shotgun at him,” the report read. “Trooper MacDonald described Mr. Maker as being so close that he could have touched the shotgun.”
The trooper left the kitchen, firing four rounds from his .45-caliber handgun in Maker’s direction. One round hit Maker’s hand, and struck and shattered the wooden stock on his shotgun. When MacDonald went back into the house after hearing the shotgun fall, Maker pointed to his own chest and told the trooper to shoot him, according to the report.
MacDonald struggled with Maker in an attempt to move him away away from a second shotgun in the room while Wuthenow secured the firearm, the report states. At one point, MacDonald used pepper spray in an effort to control Maker.
Eventually, the trooper pushed Maker out of the house, where police restrained him on the front lawn. A game warden provided medical aid until Maker could be taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, according to the attorney general’s report.
A Waldo County grand jury indicted Maker on felony charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and reckless conduct with a firearm, as well as a misdemeanor charge of refusing to submit to arrest.
Mills determined that MacDonald had been justified in his use of deadly force.
Maker pleaded guilty to two of the counts and was sentenced to two years in prison with all but 57 days suspended for the charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail for refusing to submit to arrest or detention. The reckless conduct charge was dismissed by the court, according to a clerk.
Maker, who was given credit for time served, will be on probation for two years. His probation conditions include psychological counseling and checks to make sure he does not have firearms or other dangerous weapons.