A chief lost his anchors in December when he pleaded guilty to drunk and disorderly conduct charges at a special court-martial.
The charges stemmed from a boozy June 11 incident when then-Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Jason D. McFarlin allegedly grabbed a nurse and struck a hospital security guard after warning that “someone’s gonna die today,” according to police and court records.
McFarlin was initially placed on “restriction in lieu of arrest” and charged with aggravated assault, drunk and disorderly conduct, communicating a threat and two specifications for assault consummated by a battery, according to his charge sheet.
But as part of a pretrial agreement, McFarlin pleaded to the drunk and disorderly charge on Dec. 12 and was reduced to petty officer first class, according to Judge Advocate General’s Corps summary of trial results.
McFarlin’s civilian criminal defense attorney, Thomas Weaver, declined comment when contacted by Navy Times.
Military officials were unable to provide a copy of McFarlin’s pretrial agreement by Navy Times’ deadline.
Assigned to the aircraft carrier Nimitz, the 39-year-old’s case began on the evening of June 11 in Bremerton, near the carrier’s homeport.
Bremerton Police Department officers responded to an apartment parking lot in the 2000 block of Wheaton Way around 7:50 p.m. after a friend of McFarlin reported the chief “was very intoxicated, refused to get out of the car and was getting angry,” according to the incident report.
The friend told officers he had picked up McFarlin at a Kohl’s department store and brought him to an apartment to “sleep it off.”
After McFarlin vainly reached for the car keys — his buddy had removed them from the ignition — he “walked into the bushes, falling down about 8 to 10 feet into the wood line" along the parking lot, the responding officer wrote.
The friend said “McFarlin lives on the USS Nimitz during the week but has a home elsewhere out of town for weekends.”
The police officer wrote that he spotted the chief in the bushes.
When Emergency Medical Service personnel tried to talk to McFarlin, he appeared "extremely intoxicated,” the officer added.
He and the medics dragged the 6-foot 260-pound McFarlin from the vegetation and into the parking lot, according to police and court records.
When a Bremerton Fire Department medic tried to examine McFarlin, the chief flailed and struck him in the leg, the report states.
So the police officer and the medic pinned his arms until he calmed down.
“McFarlin was confrontational with fire staff, saying if anybody said anything to his command, something like it would end them or their careers,” the officer wrote.
McFarlin was transported to nearby Harrison Medical Center, but about an hour later, police received another call indicating that the chief “was being pinned down by security after assaulting the charge nurse,” according to the report.
McFarlin’s size forced responding officers to use two sets of handcuffs to restrain him.
A nurse later told them she had entered McFarlin’s room and the chief ordered her to “shut the damn curtains,” the police report states.
The woman said she couldn’t do that and the chief then “grabbed her by the collar of her jacket and began to pull her towards him,” the officer wrote.
“She had to quickly get herself out of her jacket in order to get away” from McFarlin, according to the police report.
“He had ill intent in his eyes when he grabbed me,” the nurse said.
A hospital security guard told police that he entered the room and found McFarlin putting on his backpack.
McFarlin uttered something like “someone’s gonna die today” and then “squared up” with the 62-year-old guard.
The chief took a sip from a metal bottle, secured the lid on top and then swung it at him, the report states.
The guard told the officers that he blocked McFarlin’s blow with one arm and struck his neck with the other before he and other guards took the chief to the deck and pinned him.
“Due to McFarlin’s level of intoxication and probable cause to arrest, he was medically cleared by a doctor to be transported to jail,” the officer wrote.
Given the chief’s “assaultive nature,” police put him in a restraining device called “The Wrap,” but had to remove it when they got to the patrol car because McFarlin was too big to fit in the back with it on.
McFarlin was also charged for the same alleged crimes in the civilian justice system and was facing an assault in the third degree charge in Kitsap County.
But last month, a Kitsap District Court judge approved McFarlin’s entry into a Felony Diversion Program, according to court records.
The state charges against McFarlin will be dropped if he pays $850 in fees, completes 48 hours of community service, submits to a chemical dependency evaluation and successfully follows any treatment recommendations, according to court records.
If he fails the program, the felony charges will be refiled with Kitsap County Superior Court. Those charges carry a maximum sentence of five years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
The program is not supposed to include defendants charged with violent offenses, but they will be accepted on a case-by-case basis, according to a Kitsap County summary of the program’s eligibility.
Originally from Utah, McFarlin reported to the Nimitz in September 2017, according to his service records.
He enlisted in 2000 and pinned on chief in 2014.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at email@example.com.