Man says alcoholism made him assault officer

Also in court, accused DPI shooter waives right to speedy trial

ALPENA — An Alpena man thanked the court before being sentenced Monday, acknowledging the alcohol addiction that he said led to his assault of a police officer.

It took getting in trouble with the law, Daniel Leavesley said, to get help.

Leavesley has struggled to get treatment for his longtime addiction without being on Medicaid, the defendant told the 26th Circuit Court. Leavesley’s defense attorney, Michael Lamble, secured a scholarship to Alpena’s Sunrise Centre, an inpatient substance abuse treatment facility, where the defendant has been detoxing for the past two weeks.

Leavesley’s last court appearance ended abruptly Aug. 5 after he failed a sobriety test in the courtroom, registering a 0.14% blood alcohol content. A person is considered legally drunk in Michigan with a 0.08% BAC.

The only way he could function was to have alcohol in his system, the defendant explained.

A series of felonies and misdemeanors culminated in May with Leavesley’s assaulting a police officer and going “nose to nose,” according to Alpena County Prosecutor Ed Black, with hospital staff.

According to Judge Michael Mack, both he and attorneys on both sides were concerned that Leavesley might die from alcohol withdrawal during his most recent stint in jail.

“How do we save your life unless you save it for yourself?” Mack asked before imposing a sentence of two years’ probation and six months in jail. The first portion of the sentence will be served at Sunrise Centre, with one day jail credit for each day served successfully at the center.

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Also in court Monday, an Alpena man pleaded no-contest to a charge of sexually assaulting a fifth-grader last spring. The 10-year-old victim told her health teacher that Scott Wright, 49, had assaulted her in his home.

A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as one for sentencing purposes. The News does not name victims of sexual assault.

Wright said in court Monday, through defense attorney Michael Lamble, that he was heavily under the influence of marijuana on the night in May or June of 2018 when he is accused of accosting the child, and therefore is unable to recount what happened.

As a result of a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to suggest the 25-year-minimum sentence Wright faced be reduced to a minimum of 15 years’ prison, which the Prosecutor’s Office will present to the judge at Wright’s sentencing in October.

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Benjamin Atwater, accused of shooting a handgun at contractors working on the roof of the Decorative Panels International plant in Alpena in May, made his first appearance in Circuit Court Monday.

Defense attorney David Funk requested more time for additional investigation on his client’s behalf. Atwater waived his right to a speedy trial and will return to court in September.

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An Alpena man who attempted to smuggle a large quantity of heroin into Alpena rejected an agreement by the prosecution to dismiss one conspiracy count if he admitted to the delivery of a narcotic.

Andrew Wikaryasz was arrested in March after police said he was caught by the Huron Undercover Narcotics Team transporting the equivalent of about 400 uncut doses of heroin from the Detroit area.

Wikaryasz was arrested along with Ryan Kaiser, of Alpena, who was sentenced in June to one year of jail and two years’ probation for the attempted delivery.

Wikaryasz, who rejected an offer by the judge of a sentencing “in a manner consistent with his co-defendant,” according to Mack, will continue toward trial.

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A man failing to update an address change in the Michigan Sex Offender Registry for a second time pleaded guilty to the offense, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Ronald Rouleau, convicted in 2012 of accosting a child for immoral purposes, was sentenced a year later to a minimum of one year, 11 months and up to four years in prison for sex offender registration violations.

Rouleau was picked up on warrant in early August after he failed to appear in court to explain why a recent change of address was not reported, as required.

Rouleau’s address is currently listed as the Alpena County Jail.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693, jriddle@thealpenanews.com or on Twitter @jriddleX.