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3/13/2014 12:47:00 PM
Litchfield Man Gets 3 Years for Damariscotta Tire-iron Attack
Jeffrey L. McKechnie
Jeffrey L. McKechnie
J.W. Oliver

A Litchfield man who assaulted another man with a tire iron at a Damariscotta campground last August has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Jeffrey Lee McKechnie, 34, of Litchfield and formerly of South Gardiner, pleaded guilty to Class B aggravated assault and Class C criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, both felonies, Feb. 27.

The state dismissed a charge of Class D threatening display of weapon, a misdemeanor, in exchange for his pleas to the other charges.

McKechnie and his girlfriend confronted a 27-year-old Malden, Mass. man about noise coming from his campsite at Lake Pemaquid Campground early Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, according to a statement by the assault victim.

McKechnie attacked the man. The man "was able to wrestle him down" until McKechnie hit him in the head "about three times" with the tire iron. A campground security guard and a male friend of the victim broke up the fight.

The friend pursued McKechnie to the area of the campground pool, where McKechnie "turned around and brandished a knife" and told the friend he was not going back to prison, the friend told police.

Patrol Officer Devin Polizzotti, of the Damariscotta Police Department, responded to the campground at about 1:30 a.m., according to his statement.

The assault victim's face and shirt "were covered in blood" from the head wound, Polizzotti said, and people were holding towels to his head to stop the bleeding.

Central Lincoln County Ambulance transported McKechnie to Miles Memorial Hospital, where he received 10 stitches and was released, Polizzotti said.

Polizzotti, through interviews with the victims and the attacker's girlfriend, identified the suspect as McKechnie. McKechnie was on probation for a 2013 felony drug possession conviction out of Kennebec County.

Polizzotti and Lincoln County sheriff's deputies searched the campground and the surrounding area, but did not find McKechnie. McKechnie's probation officer arrested him at his South Gardiner residence about a week later.

Maine Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm sentenced McKechnie Feb. 27 to seven years for the assault with all but three years suspended, and three years for the threatening. He will serve the threatening sentence concurrently with the assault sentence, and will serve both concurrently with his sentence in a Kennebec County matter.

McKechnie will serve three years of probation after his release. His conditions of probation bar the possession or use of alcohol, dangerous weapons and firearms, and permit random searches and tests for the same.

McKechnie will have to complete counseling and treatment for psychological issues and substance abuse. He also has to pay $346.60 in restitution to the victim, a $70 fine and a $10 monthly supervision fee.

The probation conditions prohibit contact with the assault victim and the threatening victim.

McKechnie is in custody at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, according to the Maine Department of Corrections. The department lists his earliest possible release date as June 17, 2016.

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