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Stalker facing up to 11 years

June 09, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Denying any responsibility for his actions and criticizing the judge, a Spring Run, Pa., man was sentenced Wednesday to 39 months to 11 years in state prison for felony stalking.

"It's too bad I can't sue you for malpractice," Jerry North told Judge Richard J. Walsh before his sentencing.

"You denied me a chance to prove my wife is lying and trying to set me up," said North, 48, who acted as his own attorney during a two-day trial last month.

"Being in your courtroom is like playing baseball with one hand handcuffed behind my back and a toothpick for a bat," he said.

A jury convicted North of stalking, theft and receiving stolen property for a series of incidents that occurred between April 27 and June 2, 1998.

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According to Chambersburg police records, North had entered ex-wife Lucinda North's vehicle, stole personal property including clothing, left messages in her car and made repeated telephone calls to her.

Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom said North had a long history of abusing his former wife, including convictions in 1995 for simple assault and harassment for which he was sentenced to three months in jail and two years on probation.

Krom said after the sentencing that North did more time on the charges after being found in violation of probation in 1997 and parole in 1998. She said he was also found in violation of a protection from abuse order on seven occasions.

North told Walsh he should have granted his request for handwriting and other experts during the trial. North also submitted post-trial motions Wednesday asking for a new trial, a copy of the trial transcript and appointment of a new attorney.

David R. Yoder acted as North's standby counsel during the trial. Public Defender Robert J. Trambley was standing by during the sentencing, but North never consulted him.

Walsh said he went outside of sentencing guidelines in handing North a longer sentence. Walsh said he did so because North's victim was always Lucinda North, the charges were filed while he was on parole and he never acknowledged any responsibility.

"You've essentially exhausted the county's resources in terms of dealing with you," Walsh said. "It is with little reluctance that we hand you over to someone who is better able to handle you."

Lucinda North said she suffered abuse throughout their 24-year marriage, which ended in divorce in 1997. "He has threatened to kill me, and I do not know that he would not do it," she said.

"He shows no remorse. He's not living in reality," she said after the hearing.

"I think it's an important case for domestic violence," Krom said later. "The victim's persistence in following through with the charges has gotten her some relief."

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