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Man held in attack at Antietam

July 09, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

A Hyattsville, Md., man charged with assaulting a U.S. Park Service ranger during the annual Salute to Independence festivities at Antietam National Battlefield a week ago was being held Friday without bond at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

Eric Cothran, 39, was charged with assault on a federal officer and conducting an illegal business on July 3, according to Antietam Superintendent John Howard.

Jail officials confirmed Friday that Cothran was being held there on the federal charges.

It marked the first arrest during the Salute to Independence program held yearly during the July 4 holiday at the battlefield since 1986.

Howard said that Cothran was selling glow light necklaces Saturday at the battlefield despite the fact that no permits are issued for sales at the battlefield except to the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

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Park Ranger Todd Stanton approached Cothran at 9 p.m. and asked to see his permit, Howard said. Cothran told Stanton he didn't have one, Howard said.

At that point, Cothran swung and hit Stanton in the left temple with his fist, Howard said. An off-duty Jefferson County, W.Va., sheriff's deputy and a park tourist helped Stanton take Cothran into custody, Howard said.

Cothran was jailed at the Washington County Detention Center until Tuesday when he was taken before a U.S. magistrate judge in Baltimore, according to Tom DiGirolamo, the local U.S. magistrate judge.

That was done because Cothran had a prior record, DiGirolamo said.

Cothran is on probation for assault, Howard said.

At the Tuesday hearing, Cothran was formally charged and jailed without bond, according to Ranger Ed Wenschhof, who accompanied Stanton to the hearing in Baltimore.

The 31-year-old Stanton was treated at Washington County Hospital and released last Saturday, according to Howard and a hospital spokeswoman.

Stanton had bruises on his ribs and a wrist injury, all suffered during the struggle to take Cothran into custody, Howard said. Stanton could not be reached for comment.

The maximum penalty for assaulting a federal officer is three years in prison. Only a fine can be levied for conducting an illegal business, according to Wenschhof.

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