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Man fined $5,000 for open blaze

December 29, 2000

Man fined $5,000 for open blaze



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


The vice president of a Boonsboro hardware company was fined $5,000 and given a one-year suspended jail sentence Thursday after a Washington County Circuit jury found him and the firm guilty of violating Maryland open burning and dumping laws.

Todd Eugene Easterday, of 11012 Stanley Drive, was placed on probation for three years by Judge Frederick Wright, who presided over the two-day trial. Court costs were also assessed.

The firm, Warrenfeltz Co. Inc. in Boonsboro, was ordered to pay $3,000 and court costs.

Another company official, Michael Easterday, who was charged with one count of illegal open burning, was acquitted early Thursday by Wright, according to court records.

"I'm very pleased with the outcome," said Laurie Bucher of the Air Management Administration of the Maryland Department of the Environment. "We take these matters very seriously."

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Bucher, who spoke outside court after the verdict and sentencing, said she believes the criminal prosecution was the first in connection with open burning in Washington County.

Testimony at the trial revealed that on Feb. 9, 1999, the remnants of a shed at the Warrenfeltz Co. site in Boonsboro were hauled to Greenbrier Road and burned.

Todd Easterday testified he was told he didn't need a permit to burn the lumber.

Assistant Maryland Attorney General John Lilly II handled the prosecution of the case.

In closing arguments to the jury, Lilly said Todd Easterday was seen by Bucher and Edward Eason, a former Washington County Environmental Health Department employee, at the Greenbrier Road site where the burning was done that day.

Lilly told the jury that Todd Easterday knew he had to have a permit to burn anything but brush generated on that Greenbrier Road property.

"Todd Easterday laughed at the law that day," Lilly told the jury. "This was done to avoid a $35 a ton tipping fee at the landfill."

Todd Easterday's attorney, Gregory Bannon, told the jurors in closing arguments that they must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Todd Easterday was even at the Greenbrier Road site when the fire was burning.

Wiley Rutledge, who represented the Warrenfeltz Co. Inc., reminded the jury that not everything Todd Easterday does is attributable to the company.

Calls to Warrenfeltz Co. Inc. were answered by Jacob Easterday, company president, who deferred to Todd Easterday for comment.

Todd Easterday didn't respond to a request for comment.

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