Trevor Nicholas McWaters, 25, Joseph, pleaded guilty to one count of Harassment and no contest on a charge of Menacing in a domestic violence case in Wallowa County Circuit Court on Wednesday, April 17. Judge Wes Williams presided while Greg Baxter represented the state by phone and court-appointed attorneys Michelle Bartov represented the defendant.
The charges stemmed from a Feb. 18 incident. When asked by Williams about the events leading up to the incident, which according to the Harassment charge, included offensive physical contact, McWaters stated, “I just annoyed her to the point she reacted on it.” Williams noted it must be more than annoyance to amount to a Harassment charge to which McWaters made an unintelligible comment and Williams accepted the plea.
The Menacing charge stated that McWaters grabbed the victim by the throat and shoved her into a wall. When Williams asked the basis for the Menacing charge, Baxter said that when law enforcement arrived at the home, the victim had physical injuries. He also noted a knife or hammer was allegedly used by McWaters in the altercation although McWaters vehemently denied it during plea negotiations. Bartov supplied the alleged object was a hammer.
Baxter asked for 18 months supervised probation. He asked for one day jail time with credit for time served although McWaters had spent an unspecified time in jail on the charges. Baxter also asked for a domestic violence inventory and noted the defendant is a convicted felon so could not possess firearms.
Also stipulated in the agreement is that a no contact order between McWaters and the victim be left to a probation officer after McWaters completes a domestic violence inventory. Baxter also noted a charge of resisting arrest against McWaters had been dismissed and also said he would have to call the officer and smooth things over. He left imposition of fines and fees to the court.
The victim testified that she wanted contact with McWaters and added she had PTSD and exaggerated the incident when she spoke to the officer who responded. She stated McWaters was her best friend and helped her stay clean for two years. She also took part of the blame for the incident and said it helped her realize she needed counseling and added she thought contact was the best thing for both of them.
Bartov said that her client had sustained an injury during the altercation and also suffered a significant hardship because he had not been allowed to return to his residence due to the no contact order. She also stated she thought the agreement included contact by phone between the victim and defendant and leaving physical contact to the probation officer and the victim. Baxter agreed.
Bartov also noted a civil compromise on a charge of Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree in the incident. A charge of Assault in the Fourth Degree was also dismissed.
Williams noted to McWaters that it was a tough day for the defendant and asked for a statement before sentencing. McWaters said he was too emotional to make a statement and Williams replied he hoped the couple could patch things up as the victim was, “a really nice lady who went to bat for you this morning.”
The judge followed Baxter’s recommendations and sentenced McWaters to 18 months supervised probation. He also included a suspended jail sentence of 364 days along with a lengthy explanation of how the sentence was a “sword of Damocles” hanging over his head.
Before telling McWaters that everyone was rooting for him, Williams added the domestic violence inventory and upheld the no contact order and ordered a suspended fine of $500 because the defendant was unemployed, but upheld the order of a previous judge to pay $215 in court costs. He also asked that McWaters be very kind to the victim.