Net Nanny sting defendant Clinton Caldwell of Sequim faces a maximum 364-day jail sentence May 29 after a Clallam County District Court 1 jury found him guilty in a gun-related road rage incident.
The incident began with obscene gestures that led to a March 22 confrontation off U.S. Highway 101 east of Port Angeles.
It occurred four days before Caldwell, 67, was arrested on the unrelated attempted child-rape charges that he will stand trial for on June 25 in Superior Court in proceedings that are scheduled to last for two weeks.
A status hearing on the attempted-rape case, which grew out of a State Patrol sting involving multiple defendants from the Olympic Peninsula arrested March 23-26, is set for 1 p.m. Thursday, May 24.
Caldwell, out of the Clallam County jail on bail, was found guilty last Wednesday of unlawful display of a weapon — a handgun — to a Port Angeles couple whose car he followed to their home.
Caldwell and the couple testified in the one-day trial last Tuesday before a three-man, three-woman jury took about 30 minutes to find Caldwell guilty.
The incident began when the couple, driving eastbound on Highway 101 past the Deer Park Cinema just east of Morse Creek, passed Caldwell’s GMC truck.
Caldwell followed them to their home stopping his vehicle behind the couple’s before displaying his handgun.
“The couple claims Caldwell initially flipped them off when they passed him,” county Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Snipe said last week.
“He said they passed him and they flipped him off, and he did not respond. He claims he followed them briefly to get their license plate number and stopped behind them.”
The couple said Caldwell tailgated their vehicle and followed them to their driveway where, when they approached him, he raised a 9-mm handgun while sitting in the cab of his truck, authorities said.
“He was really angry because they passed him,” Snipe said.
Caldwell told authorities he thought the man had put a gun in his back pocket, although the couple denied owning a firearm.
“The jury didn’t buy that,” Snipe said.
Caldwell left the residence when the woman began taking cellphone photos of his license plate, authorities said.
Caldwell said the handgun was unloaded, Snipe said.
It was loaded when authorities seized it at his Bogey Lane residence, according to court records.
In order to find Caldwell guilty, the jury had to determine that Caldwell was not acting in self-defense, Snipe said.
“The state’s theory was, he wasn’t being honest, basically,” he said.
Snipe said when the jury was selected, potential jurors were asked if they knew who Caldwell was.
They were not asked if they were familiar with the Net Nanny case, which resulted in the arrest in late March of 12 suspected child predators.
The suspects were themselves lured to a home rented by the State Police in Jefferson County with the promise of meeting children.
In a related case, a first-degree felony harassment-threats to kill-domestic violence charge was filed against Caldwell on April 16 for allegedly threatening a family member he blamed for his arrest.
Paul Gottlieb is a Senior Staff Writer with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at email@example.com.