Sunday, May 22, 2011

Grand Old Police Blotter: God, Guns and 'Nuts Edition

It's time to make the bail for a Maine Republican who thinks the law doesn't apply to lawmakers:

WATERVILLE -- A state representative from Garland was arrested Saturday morning for pointing a handgun at a man at point-blank range in a Dunkin' Donuts parking lot.

The legistlator, Republican Frederick L. Wintle, 58, faces a felony charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon for pulling a gun on Morning Sentinel photographer Michael Seamans, of Sidney, in a public area near a busy road.

Over the previous few days, people at the Legislature commented on Wintle's increasingly erratic behavior, and he was kicked out of the hotel at which he was staying in Augusta.

Saturday morning, Wintle started talking to Seamans about the infant that died this week at Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter on Ticonic Street and said he was looking for the mother's drug dealer, according to both Seamans and police.

News reports made no mention of drugs involved in the infant's death and did not reveal the family.

He then pulled a .22-caliber handgun out of his pants waistband and pointed it at Seamans in the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot on Kennedy Memorial Drive.

Apologists for Wintle say he's one of God's chosen legislators:

State Rep. Kenneth Ferdette, R-Newport, District 25, said Saturday he had visited Wintle at the Kennebec County Jail twice after Wintle's arrest Saturday morning. He said he and other friends were trying to arrange bail for his release.

Ferdette, an attorney, agreed that Wintle is a religious person.

"I would certainly characterize Fred as being someone who is religious -- I've attended church with him in Exeter, so he's certainly a religious individual," Ferdette said. "We think it's an unfortunate incident; right now we're just trying to get things sorted out and I have had conversations with different people regarding bail. Certainly we would anticipate that he'd be pleading not guilty."

Athens Selectman Charles Rotondi and his wife, Athens Town Clerk Tracey Rotondi, said Saturday they remember Wintle telling voters during the annual town meeting in March that God had led him to run for public office.

"He made those kinds of references a couple of times," Charles Rotondi said. "I remember that kind of rhetoric, but not word for word; I do remember that he was saying God had brought him to office."

Not guilty by reason of Jesus isn't a plea, Kenny boy.

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