ROCHESTER - A Rochester man and veteran Northern Seacoast lawman has been indicted on domestic violence criminal threatening charges for allegedly telling his girlfriend, "I'm really going to murder you" moments before returning from another room with a firearm in his waistband.
Michael McNeil, 39, of Flower Drive, who recently resigned from the Middleton Police Department where he served as a patrolman, has also had stints with the Farmington Police Department and the Strafford County Sheriff's Office.
The felony criminal threatening charge carries a sentence of three and a half to seven years in state prison.
The indictment alleges McNeil "used or attempted to use physical force or by physical conduct threatened to use a deadly weapon ... for the purpose of placing another in fear of imminent bodily injury."
According to a criminal complaint filed at Strafford County Superior Court, the incident occurred shortly after midnight on June 12 as McNeil and his girlfriend were engaged in an argument. According to a Rochester Police affidavit, officers got involved after it was learned a female was texting her cousin that her boyfriend was threatening her with a gun.
Police soon learned who the victim was and that McNeil may be the suspect.
While en route to the scene, it was reported to responding officers that McNeil had left the scene in his car, and soon after officers caught up with him in a Corson Street driveway.
McNeil admitted to the officers that the two had been arguing, but said he never threatened his girlfriend with the handgun, only that he retrieved the handgun from his bedroom as he was leaving the residence.
A Smith and Wesson .380 was found inside McNeil's car.
According to the affidavit, police interviewed the girlfriend, who showed police a scratch on her right wrist she said had been inflicted by McNeil when he grabbed it.
She also showed police broken pictures McNeil had allegedly broken by smashing them on the floor and marks on a refrigerator from when he allegedly kicked it a couple of times.
Initially the Middleton Police Department placed him on administrative leave but he has since resigned. He had been on the force since 2012.
Because of his relationship with several Strafford County law enforcement agencies the case will be prosecuted by the Carroll County Attorneys Office.
The August Strafford County grand jury indictments were handed down on Aug. 15 and released on Monday.
An indictment is not indication of guilt, only that enough evidence has been presented to a grand jury to warrant a trial.