By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Man sentenced for brandishing weapon

Judge Ronald Stone told James Maley he’s lucky to be alive. Had he pointed a firearm at a police officer elsewhere in the state, the judge said, he might have been shot to death.

Stone sentenced the 43-year-old Sheridan resident to two years of prison time and two years of post-prison supervision Monday in Yamhill County Circuit Court, after he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful use of a weapon, a Class C felony, in connection with an Oct. 27 incident.

Ten other counts, encompassing menacing, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, interference with a police officer, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon were dismissed as part of a plea agreement between the district attorney’s office and Maley’s court-appointed attorney, Carol Fredrick of McMinnville.

Maley was also found in violation of his probation from incidents occurring on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. They touched off a disturbance in his neighborhood, during which he told a neighbor he was prepared to shoot it out with police.

Sheriff’s Capt. Tim Svenson gave this account of the latest incident:

About 8:15 p.m. Oct. 27, the Yamhill Communications Agency’s 911 dispatch center received several calls about a man said to be brandishing and/or firing a handgun near Bridge and East Main streets, in the heart of Sheridan. Witnesses reported seeing the man pull a handgun from his waistband, point it and go through the motions of firing it.

A short time later, Maley entered Lee’s Green Frog Bar and Restaurant at 119 East Main St., pulled a large-caliber handgun from his waistband and slammed it on the counter. The bartender responded by having him escorted out the back door.

As three deputies arrived in response to the initial call, they heard a gunshot fired in the back parking lot of the Green Frog. As they approached, Maley appeared from an alley and leveled the handgun at them.

Deputy District Attorney Alicia Eagan said it contained six rounds, and was equipped with a speed loader, reducing reloading time.

Deputies took cover and ordered Maley to drop the gun. He responded, “It’s not going to happen.”

Still holding the weapon, Maley began walking away and soon disappeared from sight.

Additional law enforcement personnel were dispatched and a search was launched. About 2 1/2 hours later, Maley was spotted walking east on Yamhill Street.

He again refused commands to drop his weapon, so deputies deployed Tasers to subdue him. They found a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum in his waistband.

Assistance was provided by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and McMinnville Police Department, the latter with a canine team. Maley was treated by Sheridan Fire District medics for a minor facial injury, then transported to jail.

“He was having significant mental health problems at the time,” Fredrick said. “I had a psychological examination done, and it determined there were underlying mental health problems.

“He was off the rails, he was self-medicating and he was in a distraught state. He is currently medicated, and when he’s taking his meds, he’s a thoughtful and kind person.”

Maley told Stone he regretted his actions.

Stone told him, “Had you been shot, that would have been a terrible legacy to leave your children. You can’t self-medicate any longer, or you’re going to be a dead man.”

Fredrick asked Stone to consider approving Maley for participation in Alternative to Incarceration Program drug and alcohol treatment, which could serve to shave time off his sentence. But Stone declined.

Maley pleaded guilty to one count of menacing related to the New Year’s incidents about a year earlier.

The sheriff’s office gave this account of the New Year’s Eve and Day incidents, which led Judge Cal Tichenor to sentence him to 10 days in jail and 24 months probation:

On New Year’s Eve, Maley left a local bar in an angry, agitated state and began punching vehicles in a nearby parking lot. As he walked toward his Hill Street home, he got into an argument with some people in the front yard of a nearby residence.

One of them trailed after him, and spotted him brandishing what appeared to be a rifle on his front porch. Maley warned him away, saying, “You might want to leave the area. There’s going to be a shootout with the cops.”

The man went home and called the sheriff’s office. When deputies arrived, a gunshot rang out and they took cover.

Deputies eventually concluded Maley did not pose a threat to himself or others. They decided to post one deputy to monitor the situation and remove everyone else.

About noon on New Year’s Day, Maley’s mother arrived. She told him she wanted him to get help for methamphetamine addiction and mental health issues.

Maley ordered her out of the house, then went into a bedroom and fired a round, prompting her to call 911.

About half an hour later, Maley emerged unarmed and started walking down the street. He was taken into custody without further incident.

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