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Community: Violent offenders let off easy

Alex Green • Jun 2, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Frightened Ottawa County residents are coming forward with stories about violent offenders who they believe have gotten a free pass from Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan.

One neighbor is so frightened, he did not wish to give his name when discussing Wayne Evans, a Marblehead man who shot a gun at another man’s head last July, according to a Danbury Township police report.

Evans, 67, was charged by Danbury police with felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and improper handling of firearms in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony.

He never did any prison time for his January guilty plea, and he spent a single night at the Ottawa County jail on July 14, the night of his crime, according to an Ottawa County deputy.

Evans was intoxicated and got into an argument over a lawnmower with another Marblehead man in the 1400 block of South Hartshorn Road, the report said.

Evans left but came back to the man’s home with a .357 magnum revolver, the report said.

“I got (expletive) guns,” Evans said from his truck, the man told police.

Evans fired the revolver while driving his truck, just a few feet away from the man, narrowly missing the man’s head before the bullet lodged in his garage, the man told police.

Danbury Township police Chief Michael Meisler and Detective Mark Meisler, along with Catawba Island Township police and Ottawa County deputies, confirmed much of the man’s story. They went to Evans’ home, where they retrieved his revolver, exactly as the man described it, according to the report.

The man also told police they would find the casings in the revolver. Police found six rounds, and two spent ammunition casings within the cylinder, the report said.

Evans was taken to Ottawa County jail, the report said.

It was the only night he may ever have to spend behind bars, despite allegedly firing a gun at a person. He signed off on a plea deal in January that placed him on probation for three years.

“He’s going around, bragging about not doing community service” the neighbor said.

This thought of Evans being a free citizen scared the neighbor and several others as rumors of the plea deal swirled, he said. They wrote a total of about five letters, the man said, demanding Mulligan prosecute more harshly.

“He doesn’t want to do anything” the man said. “He wants to go out to lunch with the attorneys”

Mulligan set up a meeting with the neighbors and his assistant Joe Gerber, the man said, in which Gerber told them Evans was to be offered a misdemeanor plea, but would offer the plea for two fourth-degree felonies.

The man’s wife was equally upset, and is equally distraught to this day.

“We finally thought something was going to happen to (Evans),” she said.

They did not want to reveal their identities, because they say Evans is obsessed with guns and could seek revenge.

Mulligan declined to comment on this case, other than saying: “Any comments I would make on a case managed by another attorney from last July would not be helpful”

Michael Meisler was not explicitly critical of Mulligan’s handling of this case.

“Once it goes to the courts, it’s out of our control” Meisler said.

He offered another statement open to interpretation: “When you work a case, and charges are reduced, it can be frustrating”

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