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January 23, 2013

Felony charges dropped against McDougall

Felony charges against McDougall dropped

SALEM — Felony charges were dropped yesterday against Patrick McDougall, who could have spent years in prison if convicted.

He still must serve two days in the county jail, beginning this morning.

The former Budget Committee and Zoning Board of Adjustment member pleaded guilty in 10th Circuit Court as part of a plea bargain.

In exchange for his plea to misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing government administration, three felony charges — two for witness tampering, one for criminal threatening — were dropped.

McDougall, 38, faced up to seven years in state prison on each of the three felony charges if convicted.

He said little in court as Judge Michael Sullivan sentenced him on the two misdemeanor charges, giving him a 120-day suspended sentence for obstructing government administration and a $1,000 fine, suspended for two years, for disorderly conduct. He also must serve a year of probation.

Sullivan said McDougall must demonstrate good behavior for two years or he serve the suspended jail time.

“That’s 120 days hanging over your head ...” Sullivan said.

McDougall’s attorney, Neil Reardon, assured Sullivan his client would stay out of trouble.

“I don’t think you’ll ever see Patrick again,” Reardon said.

McDougall declined to comment following his sentencing. When asked why McDougall decided to plead guilty, Reardon simply said, “Because it was the right thing to do.”

The charges stem from incidents last summer when McDougall became involved in a heated argument with Salem fire Chief Kevin Breen. He also interfered with a police officer serving his wife, Jane, a subpoena in connection with an earlier case when he refused to allow emergency personnel to transport her to the hospital.

Jane McDougall called 911 on June 25, complaining of a severe headache, but McDougall wouldn’t allow paramedics to take her in an ambulance, saying he couldn’t afford a costly bill.

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