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Two charged with stabbing horses in 2002

December 02, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Police charged a Hedgesville, W.Va., man and his girlfriend with several felony counts Monday in connection with an incident a year ago in which horses belonging to the man's wife were stabbed.

Bradford J. Hall, 54, of Conservation Drive in Hedgesville, and Julie Corbin Criswell, 44, of Whitney Way in Martinsburg, were charged with three felony counts of malicious maiming of an animal and one felony count of conspiracy to commit malicious wounding of an animal.

Hall faces an additional three misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals.

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Berkeley County Animal Control Officer J.W. Ramos alleged that on Nov. 29, 2002, Hall stabbed three horses, two of which belonged to Hall's wife, from whom he was legally separated.

Ramos said he spoke to the horse's owner, Kathy Hall, on Monday. Kathy Hall said the horses are doing well and do not seem to have suffered any adverse effects, Ramos said.

Kathy Hall and a friend, David Greenfield, the owner of the third horse involved, said they realized the horses were injured when they went to check on them the day after Thanksgiving a year ago, according to court records.

A veterinarian who treated the animals said each had been stabbed once in its abdominal area, court records state. The stab wounds entered each horse's rib cage area, court records state.

The veterinarian initially said he was not sure whether Kathy Hall's two horses would survive. Greenfield's horse was treated on the scene, records state.

The horses were stabbed while they were being boarded at Butler Farm, along Thatcher Road outside Martinsburg.

Ramos said he interviewed a man who alleged that Hall bragged to him about stabbing the horses. That man alleged that Hall told him he called each horse over to him before stabbing them in the abdomen.

Other horses in the same pasture were not harmed, Ramos said.

Ramos spoke to Criswell, Bradford Hall's girlfriend, about two weeks ago. She said that on Nov. 27, 2002, Hall was drunk and talked about getting back at his wife by hurting her horses, court records allege.

Criswell drove Hall to the farm and, at his request, returned 20 minutes later, records state. When she returned and picked up Hall, he said "I got them," Ramos alleged he was told.

After driving around for a while, Hall gave Criswell a knife wrapped in cloth and drove to a bridge over Back Creek. Criswell told police that she threw the knife from the car window, records allege.

Ramos said the knife has not been found.

A horse dealer said the horses, all mares that were registered with the American Paint Horse Association, are worth a combined $9,600, Ramos said.

Conviction on a charge of malicious maiming of an animal carries a sentence of one to 10 years in prison. Conviction on a charge of animal cruelty carries a sentence of up to six months in jail.

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