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Threat nets 3-year prison sentence

January 24, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

A Hagerstown man who threatened a female bond commissioner at the Washington County District Court in late July by saying, "someone's gonna get shot tonight," was sentenced Monday to three years in prison.

Gregory Alan Scurto Jr., 20, entered an Alford plea in Washington County Circuit Court to one count of threatening a state official. Three years was the maximum penalty he could receive.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges the prosecution has enough evidence to gain a conviction, but does not admit guilt.

"Your conduct was unacceptable," said Judge Kennedy Boone. "You showed a total lack of respect for authority."

The July 21 incident began at 8:30 p.m. when Scurto attempted to enter the District Court building at 35 W. Washington St. where the bond commissioner's office is located.

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Commissioner Heather Hose was on duty and recognized Scurto from previous encounters with him in her work as a bond commissioner, court records said.

Hose had issued three arrest warrants for Scurto earlier that evening and suspected he wanted to confront her about that, court records said.

Alone in her office, Hose walked into the lobby where two employees of a nearby bail bondsman's office were standing, court records said.

Hose said she did that hoping to better deal with any situation with Scurto while others were present, court records said.

Hose said Scurto argued with her about his girlfriend lying about him and also accused her of lying, court records said.

"He was upset because the commissioner issued charges on him but not for his claims against that person," defense attorney Brian Hutchinson said.

It was then that Scurto kept repeating "someone's gonna get shot tonight," in a loud, abusive and obviously angry voice, court records said.

After he left the building at Hose's urging, three witnesses said they heard Scurto threaten to come back and "get" the commissioner later that night, court records said.

Hose then called police.

Scurto was picked up by police on Summit Avenue a short time later, court records said.

Already in custody awaiting trial on two pending drug cases, Scurto has prior convictions for assault, burglary, destruction of property, violation of probation and disorderly conduct in 1999, according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Arthur Rozes.

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