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In local courts

January 27, 1998

In local courts

Suspended sentence given in assault case

A Hagerstown man was given a suspended 90-day jail sentence Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court for assaulting a woman.

Michael Raymond Duckfield, 34, of 119 East Ave., was found not guilty of a second charge of threat of arson after a bench trial before Judge Donald Beachley.

Duckfield was placed on probation for one year and fined $150, court records said.

The April 19 incident occurred at the Guilford Avenue home of Dona Kelley, who told Hagerstown City Police that Duckfield grabbed her by the throat and pulled her hair during a confrontation, court records said.

Three days later, Kelley told police Duckfield returned and threatened to burn her house down, court records said.

Alford plea entered in sodomy case

A Hagerstown man entered a plea Monday to a sodomy charge in Washington County Circuit Court.

Thomas William Stenger, 60, of 16206 Shinham Road, entered an Alford plea to the charge.

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In an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges the state has evidence to prove a charge but does not admit guilt.

That "evidence" came from two witnesses - a Hagerstown City Police officer and a Hagerstown fire marshal who encountered Stenger and another man engaged in a sexual act on Sept. 13, court records said.

Officer Patricia Moulton and Fire Marshal John Hersh were in the area of Hagerstown City Park looking for a runaway 9-year-old in connection with a fire-setting incident, court records said.

Instead, they happened upon Stenger and the other man. Moulton took Stenger into custody and charged him with sodomy and second-degree sex offense.

The sex offense charge was dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Stenger was allowed to remain free on bond pending sentencing.

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