ITHACA, N.Y. — What was reported as a domestic dispute where a man was accused of pointing a gun at a woman, turned out to be a mental health issue, with two witnesses making sworn affidavits that what a Tompkins County Sheriff’s deputy wrote in initial reports was inaccurate.

According to initial accusatory documents, Michael LaMontain and a woman were involved in an argument at an Dryden apartment around 9:45 a.m. on Aug 4.

The documents state that LaMontain grabbed a black and camouflage-patterned shotgun and pointed it at the woman’s knees, though never expressly stating that he would shoot her. He also is accused of pushing the woman, taking her keys and taking her cell phone. The woman, who signed the statement, said she fled the apartment and called police.

However, in a sworn affidavit filed  Aug. 9, the woman gave a different story.

She said she began calling LaMontain’s lawyer Aug. 5 to tell him that her written statement was incorrect. She said LaMontain was suffering from a mental health issue and making threats against himself.

The affidavit states, “I felt very upset after the fight. I felt that the police were pressuring me to say whatever they wanted me to say. I felt they were making Michael out to be a bad person because of the situation that happened. I feel like the situation has blown out of control, and they were not letting me have any say.”

She said she didn’t recall telling police LaMontain hurt her or that she felt like she was in danger. She also said she voluntarily made contact with LaMontain’s lawyer, Russell Maines, to set the record straight.

A second sworn affidavit by a mutual friend of the two was filed Aug. 15. The friend state that he was on the phone with LaMontain and the woman during the fight, and it was his understanding that LaMontain was suffering from a mental health issue at the time. The friend said the woman contacted him later to tell him that police incorrectly took her statement.

On Aug. 18, more charges were filed against LaMontain. Complaint records state that the man and woman got into another argument and that he chased her near the apartment and threatened her with a knife. Surveillance video from the time of the alleged incident, however, do not indicate that the incident ever happened.

LaMontain pleaded guilty to misdemeanor second-degree criminal contempt in front of Dryden Judge Jules Ravo Wednesday, and was released on his own recognizance until sentencing. He was initially charged with misdemeanors for second-degree menacing with a deadly weapon, two counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment, second-degree harassment, criminal obstruction of breathing, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree menacing and felonies for second-degree burglary and first-degree criminal contempt.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.