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Man charged in attempted kidnapping

September 10, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg man accused of hitting an 18-year-old woman with a glass bottle and trying to force her into his car last week was arrested Monday afternoon.

Jeremy D. Smith, 21, of Aldrin Lane in Martinsburg, was charged with armed robbery, attempted kidnapping and malicious wounding, all felonies.

The arrest stems from an incident that occurred last Friday, as Misty Tebeau walked along Berkeley Station Road around 2:30 a.m. to retrieve her mail. As she walked, a black Ford Mustang with purple interior lights pulled into nearby Tenacious Heights, stopped and backed up toward her, Tebeau told West Virginia State Police officers who investigated the case.

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A man got out of the car and hit Tebeau several times with a glass bottle, causing cuts on her face and mouth, according to a two-page criminal complaint filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

Her assailant covered her mouth and nose with his hands, saying he would stop if she ceased yelling. He kicked her and ordered her to get into his car, Tebeau told police.

Tebeau got up and acted as if she was going to get into the man's car, but instead ran to a nearby home, police said. She threw her purse down, hoping the man would grab that and not chase her, police said.

The man gave chase, but then stopped, grabbed her purse and yelled, "I'll get you," according to court records. He then left in his car.

The victim described her assailant as a heavy-set white man with a round face. Smith is 5 feet 9 inches tall, and weighs 170 pounds, court records show.

Tebeau told police the man's license plate may have started with 8ET, records show. Smith's license plate number is 8EC 512, police said.

Two days after the assault, at 3:39 a.m. Sunday, Berkeley County Deputies W.D. Christian and B.F. Hall spotted a black Mustang with purple interior lights at the intersection of Vineyard and Grade roads. They recognized it as being similar to one for which an alert had been issued, and stopped the driver, who was Smith.

West Virginia State Trooper N.A. Harmon, who investigated the attempted kidnapping, went to the spot where deputies had pulled Smith over.

Harmon asked Smith who was driving his car on Sept. 6, and Smith said he was. Police noticed a bottle of alcohol in Smith's car and asked him if he had been drinking. Smith said he had been, records show.

Smith failed three field sobriety tests and registered a .177 on an Intoxilyzer test, records show. He was charged with one misdemeanor count of DUI.

Harmon got a photograph of Smith from the deputies and showed it, along with photos of five other men, to Tebeau. Tebeau, "without hesitation" pointed to the photo of Smith and said he was the man who attacked her, records allege.

Tebeau has maintained that she did not know Smith, according to 1st Sgt. Deke Walker of the state police.

At his arraignment by Magistrate Joan Bragg, Smith wore a T-shirt and a bright blue baseball cap. He turned the hat backward before getting into Harmon's police cruiser afterward.

Smith was being held Monday in Eastern Regional Jail on $150,000 bail.

A conviction on an armed robbery charge carries a penalty of a minimum of 10 years in prison; attempted kidnapping carries a penalty of one to five years in prison; and malicious wounding carries a penalty of two to 10 years in prison.

According to magistrate court records, Smith was charged last month with fleeing while DUI, DUI and reckless driving. Those charges had been bound over to Circuit Court for possible grand jury indictment.

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