Judge hikes man's bail in girl's disappearance

August 01, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

District Judge Ralph France on Thursday more than doubled the bail amount for an 18-year-old charged in connection with the repeated disappearances of a 14-year-old Hagerstown girl.

James Elliott Poole, of 1217 W. Washington St., now is being held on a total of $185,000 bond at the Washington County Detention Center.

Washington County Sheriff's deputies arrested Poole, who was wanted on charges in Hagerstown and Franklin County, Pa., Wednesday at a trailer in Keedysville.


Local authorities have issued four separate sets of charges against Poole, who lived at 14251 Cearfoss Pike until recent weeks. Among the charges against him are six counts of failure to comply with a peace order and one count each of contributing to the condition of a child, trespassing on private property, a fourth-degree sex offense, contempt and resisting arrest, according to court records.

The prosecutor assigned to Poole's case, Frederick County Assistant State's Attorney Laura A. Corbett, told France that Poole had taken the 14-year-old through West Virginia to Pennsylvania in June. Corbett also said police from Mercersburg, Pa., noted the girl had been beaten when they encountered the couple in July.

"We have a young victim in all of these cases. We have a man who runs from police," Corbett said during the hearing.

Police in Mercersburg, Pa., also have issued a number of charges against Poole including aggravated assault, statutory sexual assault and simple assault, and kidnapping. Mercersburg Police Sgt. William Sheppard said Poole was living at 106 S. Main St. and held the 14-year-old at the residence against her will. Sheppard also said Poole abused the girl.

Washington County State's Attorney Ken Long said representatives from Frederick County are handling the prosecution on the Poole case because members of the victim's family have been defendants in Washington County on previous occasions.

"In order to be completely objective, I've asked the Frederick County State's Attorney's Office if they would handle the cases," Long said. "I want to avoid any conflicts."

The girl and Poole have a previous history of running off together dating back to at least January, police said.

Staff writer Gregory T. Simmons contributed to this story.

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