BANGOR, Maine — A Parkman resident who refused to surrender all of his firearms to state and federal authorities after being issued a protection from abuse order was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to five years and three months in prison.
Michael J. DeMaria, 44, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release.
“I apologize to my family and to my children and for disrupting their lives,” an emotional DeMaria told U.S. District Judge John Woodcock just before the imposition of his sentence. “Please accept my apology and forgive me for the poor decisions I have made.”
DeMaria said he has had no contact with his estranged wife or three children, the youngest of whom is 7 and autistic, in more than a year. The defendant told Woodcock that he hoped that through the news media his family would hear and accept his apology.
“I have greatly failed in my responsibility and greatly failed my family in how I handled this situation that has been thrust upon me,” DeMaria continued. “I have lost being able to be a father to my autistic child. There is no way for him to understand why I am not in his life.”
DeMaria pleaded guilty in February to two charges: possession of firearms in violation of a protection from abuse order, which is in effect until January 2013, and being in possession of a firearm while addicted to marijuana.
By pleading guilty, DeMaria agreed to forfeit a dozen guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. His wife, Patricia DeMaria, and his attorney, Stephen Smith of Bangor, have filed claims seeking a portion of the seized items.
Patricia DeMaria is seeking some of them as marital property and at least one gun because it is hers, according to court documents. Smith has filed paperwork indicating his client agreed to pay him at least two guns for legal services in the DeMarias’ divorce. Woodcock said he would hold a hearing on the forfeiture issues later in the year but did not set a date.
The weapons and ammunition were found hidden in the walls of DeMaria’s residence as well as disassembled and in buckets hidden on a neighbor’s property. Much of the ammunition was found in a shed on DeMaria’s property.
DeMaria was prohibited from having guns and ammunition after his wife obtained a protection from abuse order on Dec. 28, 2010, from Dover-Foxcroft District Court. She and other family members told investigators that DeMaria smoked marijuana “all day, every day,” according to the prosecution version of events to which he pleaded guilty.
DeMaria was arrested May 17, 2011, outside Dover-Foxcroft District Court while on his way to a divorce hearing. He was released on May 25 on $5,000 unsecured bond.
He was arrested again June 6, 2011, for allegedly violating his bail conditions after a person identified in court documents as a “concerned citizen” told police DeMaria had told him he was looking for a buyer for two AR-15 assault rifles and a Taurus .45-caliber handgun. DeMaria has been held without bail since then.
Working with the FBI, the concerned citizen learned that DeMaria had hidden disassembled guns on a neighbor’s property, according to court documents.
All those items were recovered, the documents said.
DeMaria faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The time he has been held without bail will be applied to his sentence. Under the prevailing sentencing guidelines, DeMaria faced between five years and three months in prison and 6½ years in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy recommended DeMaria be sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison, while Smith urged Woodcock to impose a lesser sentence.
If DeMaria had not violated his bail conditions on the federal charges, he would have faced between a year and 1½ years less behind bars, Smith said during the sentencing hearing.
Conditions of his supervised release include a ban on the possession of guns and ammunition, no use of illegal drugs and undergoing mental health treatment.
The investigation that led to DeMaria’s conviction was conducted jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office, the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bangor Police Department and the Maine State Police Bomb Squad, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.