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'Guitar man' hired as construction worker

Friday Harbor may be a bit calmer this weekend. Maxwell Gillette, AKA Guitar Man, is spending the weekend in jail. He will be released in time to start a construction job on Monday. According to Gillette, a man he worked for previously came into town and offered him a job. 

The 46-year-old homeless man has kept San Juan County's  Sheriff's Office busy responding to complaints about him causing disturbances in town. Callers say he is often intoxicated, drinking from an open container in public, and yelling  at people including children - sometimes using vulgar language.  He's also known for singing loudly. 

His numerous interactions with deputies include a second-degree criminal trespass complaint regarding Brickworks on Nichols Street in Friday Harbor. He was arrested on June 24, 2022. Conditions of release included not possessing or consuming alcohol or cannabis.

On July 2, he was causing a disturbance in front of Ace Hardware. On July 4, he was cited for having an open container which violated his conditions of release. Another deputy responded to Granny's Way later the same day. Gillette appeared to be very intoxicated and was disturbing the peace by yelling at people waiting for the ferry. He was asked to take a breath test. He refused. His refusal was reported to the prosecutor's office as it violated his conditions of release.  These are just a few of the numerous calls deputies responded to involving Gillette. 

On July 21, 2022, he plead guilty to second -degree criminal trespass. The prosecutor's office requested a sentence of 90 days in jail with 86 days suspended. He was ordered to not possess or consume alcohol in public, to have law abiding behavior, and to submit to breath tests when asked by a deputy. He was released since he had already served four days. 

The next day, July 22, a deputy responded to a disorderly conduct call at First and A Streets. Gillette and Rebecca Lewis were sitting on a bench yelling at people in the ferry line. The deputy asked if they could move along to another location. Gillette's speech was heavily slurred and when he stood he swayed. The conditions of his release required him to not consume alcohol and to submit to a breath test when asked. He refused the breath test. A report was sent to the prosecutor's office. 

On July 23, a deputy responded to a report of two men arguing at The Big Store. The caller thought it was about to get physical. Gillette was there when the deputy arrived. According to the deputy's report: "Gillette claimed he was not yelling at anyone, he was just singing loudly. He believed he had opinions that he needed to share with everyone. He stated he was just exercising his 'rights'."

A report was forwarded to the prosecutor's office. Gillette had smelled of alcohol and refused a breath test. Gillette claimed his release conditions only forbid drinking in public. 

On July 26, a deputy responded to another disorderly conduct call. Gillette was standing on the corner of Spring and Argyle drinking from a can of Long Island Iced Tea. The beverage is 12 percent alcohol by weight. He hid the can in the bushes when he saw the deputy coming. The deputy retrieved the can and started writing a citation for open container. Gillette continued to yell, so another deputy was called in to assist. According to the deputy's report: "Gillette stated that he did buy the beer and he was drinking it but he had the right to do so because "we" sold him the beer."

Gillette was upset after being handed the citation. He told the deputy, "This i going to cost me 88 days"

An order requiring Gillette to show cause why the suspended part of his sentence shouldn't be imposed was filed July 28 by the prosecutor. 

A hearing was held July 29 in San Juan County District Court. The prosecutor asked for Gillette to be jailed for 15 days. 

The public defender said Gillette had his own suggestion. He asked to be banned from consuming alcohol and that he wear an alcohol monitor. He told Judge Carolyn Jewett that he had just gotten a job.

Probation Office Brad Fincher expressed misgivings that Gillette would take care of the expensive monitor. Fincher suggested some punishment was in order and that a solution would be to have Gillette spend the weekend in jail. On Monday, Fincher could start an alcohol monitoring program for Gillette. He would need to take a breath test each week day for a month. 

After some more discussion, Judge Jewett followed Gillette's wishes as modified by Fincher. Gillette was booked into jail for the weekend.  

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