Officer held in Pa. on stalking charge Ex-girlfriend accuses him

bond set at $10,000

December 11, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- An Anne Arundel County police officer was ordered held in a Pennsylvania jail on $10,000 bail yesterday, charged with stalking and harassing his former girlfriend.

District Justice Margaret L. Klinedinst assigned the case to the York County Common Pleas Court and set bail for Edward F. Smith, 32, after a heated exchange with the defendant at the bench in the tiny courtroom.

Smith, of Manchester in Carroll County, was being held last night by Penn Township police while relatives tried to raise his bail.

"You're tearing a family apart," Smith shouted at Klinedinst.

"Don't threaten me," the justice warned, ordering that neither Smith nor any of his relatives have direct or indirect contact with his former girlfriend or her family.

Michelle L. Cummings, who has a 2-year-old son by Smith, broke off their relationship and moved into her parents' home near Hanover, Pa., about a month before she called police Oct. 6 to report threatening telephone calls.

At yesterday's preliminary hearing, Cummings said she received 15 to 20 calls from Smith that Sunday. Once, she handed the phone to Penn Township Officer John J. Ernst, who testified yesterday that he spoke with a man on the phone and ordered him to stop calling Cummings.

"I tried to get some information, and that's when he called me a 'hick-town wanna-be,' " Ernst said.

Cummings could not recall yesterday any specific threat that Smith made to her, but Ernst wrote in an affidavit that the man he spoke with Oct. 6 had said "he would get her back for everything that she did to him."

Cummings could not remember yesterday the specific purpose or times of Smith's alleged calls. She said she was under stress that day.

"Our relationship was over. I told him to stop calling," she said.

Under cross-examination by Smith's attorney, Michael Fenton, Ernst said he did not know for certain that the man he spoke with was Smith.

"The lady [Cummings] handed me her portable phone and said, 'It's him, Ed Smith.' "

Ernst said the caller sounded intoxicated and that he did not ask the man where he was at the time of the call.

"I tried to get information, and that's when he called me everything but a police officer," Ernst said.

Smith, a three-year veteran of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, is on leave after suffering a job-related injury. After charges were filed, Smith turned in his badge and weapon and was placed on administrative duties at the Western District station in Odenton, a police spokesman said.

On Friday, York County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Brillhart reserved a ruling at a contempt of court hearing against Smith, who prosecutors say violated terms of a Protection From Abuse order three times.

Brillhart granted a Protection From Abuse order for one year Oct. 18.

After Smith said he did not receive notice of the protective order until after he was charged, the judge said he wanted to hear from the person who served Smith that order before ruling on the contempt charge.

No court date has been set in that case, prosecutor Robert J. Schefter, the deputy district attorney, said yesterday.

Pub Date: 12/11/96

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