Navy veteran admits brandishing gun on federal land near Appalachian Trail
By JUDY HARRISON | The Bangor Daily News | Published: October 16, 2018
BANGOR, Maine (Tribune News Service) — A U.S. Navy veteran admitted in U.S. District Court on Monday that last year he brandished a pistol at four men on federally owned land in Redington Township, Maine after an evening out drinking.
Justin Woods, 32, of Arundel pleaded guilty to the federal charge of misdemeanor assault. He was released on personal recognizance bail.
His plea agreement calls for Assistant Attorney General James Moore and defense attorney Richard Berne of Portland to jointly recommend a year of probation.
Crimes committed on federal property, such as Acadia National Park, are prosecuted in federal court.
Woods, who was a contract worker for the Navy, did not fire the gun and no one was injured during the Aug. 28, 2017, incident.
His actions caused the four victims to “have reason fear and apprehension of imminent harm,” the prosecution version of events to which he pleaded guilty said.
Woods was a civilian working with members of the Navy in a training exercise in remote survival, evasion, resistance and escape in the days leading up to the incident, according to court documents. Woods returned to the area after hours. Information about whether he lost his job or not is not included in court documents but most likely will be discussed at his sentencing.
Woods, who had been at a social event in Rangeley with Navy trainers, exhibited the gun after the car he was in stopped to talk with the victims who were in another vehicle on a road that accessed to the training site.
Woods, who served in the Navy for nine years, has undergone extensive counseling since the incident, according to his attorney.
“He’s looking forward to continuing to lead an exemplary life and serving his country,” Berne said after Monday’s hearing.
Woods has no prior criminal history.
A sentencing date has not been set. Woods faces up to six months in prison and fine of up $5,000.
The land is located near the Appalachian Trail, not far from where the body of missing hiker, Geraldine Largay, 66, of Brentwood, Tennessee, was found in October 2015. Largay went missing about 2½ years earlier.