Last defendant charged in Howland beatings 2 years ago to serve a year

Charles Gardner makes a court appearance via video feed at the Penobscot Judicial Center in 2012.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Charles Gardner makes a court appearance via video feed at the Penobscot Judicial Center in 2012.
Posted July 31, 2014, at 12:57 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A fourth defendant was sentenced Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in connection with the vicious beating of two men that outraged the Howland community nearly two years ago.

Charles Gardner, 22, of Howland was sentenced to nine years in prison with all but one year suspended after pleading no contest to two counts of aggravated assault, according to the Penobscot County district attorney’s office.

No contest pleas result in convictions.

In addition to prison time, Gardner was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution toward the victims’ medical bills, which totaled nearly $150,000.

Others charged in connection with the assaults were: Henry R. McKinnon, 29, of Howland; his brother John T. McKinnon, 24, of Howland; and Brandon Summerson, 23, of Enfield.

Neither victim, now 32 and 33, was covered by private insurance or MaineCare at the time of the beating, Alice Clifford, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, has said.

The Aug. 17, 2012, fight was over an alleged drug sale, according to a previously published report. The victims suffered broken facial bones, broken ribs and knocked-out teeth.

John T. McKinnon pleaded no contest in November to two counts of assault, Clifford said Thursday in an email. He was sentenced to a year in prison with all but six months suspended and one year of probation.

In September, Henry R. McKinnon was sentenced to six years in prison with all but 17 months suspended followed by three years of probation after pleading no contest three months earlier to two counts of aggravated assault and violating his bail conditions.

The McKinnons also were ordered to pay $10,000 each in restitution.

Summerson was sentenced last August to eight years in prison with all but 3½ years suspended and three years of probation, according to a previously published report. He also pleaded no contest to two counts of aggravated assault. Summerson was ordered to pay a lesser amount of restitution — $5,600 — because the medical bills had not been finalized when he was sentenced, according to Clifford.

The beatings prompted a meeting held about 10 days after the assaults between about 200 community members and Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross, whose deputies patrol the town.

“I think part of the problem is that everybody feels afraid,” Howland resident Marisa LeBlanc said in August 2012.

Many residents said they were “fed up” with individuals like those involved in the assault, who they say have caused drug and crime problems in the community for years.

The maximum sentence for aggravated assault, a Class B crime, is 10 years. The maximum sentence for assault, a Class D crime, is up to a year in prison.

 

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