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Man who stalked deputy spared prosecution

September 25, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

A Martinsburg, W.Va., man who stalked and threatened a Washington County sheriff's deputy last year was spared prosecution Thursday, provided he continue psychiatric treatment and remain in a group home.

James Maxwell Hammond, 72, of 126 S. Raleigh St., had been charged with stalking, trespassing, harassment and third- and fourth-degree burglary, court records said.

The case was placed on an inactive court docket Thursday by Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III. As long as Hammond has no contact with Deputy Valerie Weaver and stays away from her home, the charges will not be prosecuted.

In the court papers, Washington County State's Attorney Ken Long told Wright that Hammond must also continue to live in Project Home and follow all the facility's rules, comply with treatment, take all medications and attend all psychiatric appointments.

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According to the charging documents, Hammond showed up unannounced at Weaver's office in September 1998, followed her to her patrol car and entered her home in Halfway.

Weaver told deputies that Hammond made numerous false complaints, including reports of people melting into his walls, people entering his home and trying on his clothes, people taking pictures inside his house and people rotating the tires on his vehicle, the charging documents said.

He threatened to kill Weaver on at least two occasions, according to allegations contained in court records.

Weaver "was visibly shaken and made the statement that she thought the defendant was going to kill her because of his past threats to do this to her," Deputy Jeff Cooper wrote in the charging documents.

The alleged harassment culminated on Sept. 7, 1998, when Weaver was washing dishes in her kitchen and a man entered her home, according to court papers.

The man hid his hands. After repeated requests, he showed his hands, revealing that he was not armed, according to the charging documents.

Weaver repeatedly asked the man to leave before he finally did, according to court records.

A short time later, deputies traced a telephone call Hammond made to the Washington County Sheriff's Department from the Sheetz store on Virginia Avenue.

Cooper arrested Hammond there and seized his vehicle, which was searched. Deputies found a knit ski mask under a jacket on the back seat and a plastic cap pistol that resembled a handgun in the trunk, according to charging documents.

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