Relative of defendant is accused of making death threats to witness Victim identified voice from recording, police say

May 20, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Mount Rainier man, accused of making life-threatening calls to a Westminster girl who is a witness against one of his relatives, unwittingly provided state police with a tape recording of his voice, court records show.

James F. Boone Jr., 39, of the 3300 block of Chillum Road was arrested by state police Friday on a criminal warrant and released after posting $15,000 bail in District Court in Hyattsville, a spokeswoman for the Prince George's County court said yesterday.

Boone was charged with intimidating a witness, obstruction of justice and telephone misuse. No trial date had been set.

In charging documents, police allege that Boone made two death threats to the home of 16-year-old Jennifer Sarsfield, who is expected to testify May 29 in Carroll County juvenile court in a case related to the heroin overdose death of Liam O'Hara, a 15-year-old Westminster High student.

Shelley Sarsfield, the girl's mother, told The Sun last week that an unidentified male had called their home in the early evening of May 11 to say that her daughter was dead, "or if she's not, she's going to be."

Mrs. Sarsfield said she called 911 to report the incident, and Tfc. Douglas Reitz came to their home before Jennifer returned.

While the trooper was there, a second call came to the Sarsfields' home, and Jennifer answered.

A male voice said, "You're going to die ."

Mrs. Sarsfield said the trooper traced the call.

Reitz stated in charging documents that when confronted by him, the suspect questioned the trooper's identity and called the Westminster barracks to verify it.

Calls to state police are routinely tape-recorded. The Sarsfields identified the taped voice as the same one that made the death threats, Reitz said.

Telephone records also showed that a call was made from the suspect's home to his relative's home in Westminster before the threatening calls were made, the trooper said.

The suspect's relative is one of three Westminster teens charged in connection with O'Hara's death in January.

Kristopher Olenginski, 16, of Westminster was charged as an adult with heroin distribution and reckless endangerment, and a boy and a girl, both 17, were charged as juveniles.

Neil and Shelley Sarsfield, Jennifer's parents, own and operate the Burger King on Route 140 in Westminster. Jennifer works there, as did O'Hara. Jennifer also knows the three teen-age suspects.

Jennifer Sarsfield said last week that her troubles began last month when she received a subpoena to testify and Olenginski's investigators wanted to interview her.

Mrs. Sarsfield and Jennifer said that the interview was tape-recorded and that they were told they could review a transcript of the interview before agreeing to its accuracy.

Before that happened, Jennifer said, a girl whom she saw at mall relayed a message indicating that the female juvenile defendant knew what was said "in a 23-page letter."

When the Sarsfields saw a 23-page transcript of Jennifer's interview a few days later, Jennifer said she knew that the female defendant had seen the transcript.

The investigators denied giving the transcript to anyone, but "I was hearing things [from my friends and from her friends] that were quotes of what I had said" in the interview, she said.

Mrs. Sarsfield said yesterday that Jennifer has received no additional death threats but that she reported being harassed at a Westminster mall Friday night by two girls she said were a relative of one defendant and a friend of another defendant.

Pub Date: 5/20/98

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