Man charged with stalking wife

April 08, 2006|By PEPPER BALLARD


A 39-year-old Hagerstown man was being held without bond Friday night at the Washington County Detention Center on charges he has stalked his estranged wife since August 2005, followed her and tapped into her e-mail accounts, according to court documents.

James Stephen Ostmann, of 990 Monroe Ave., is charged with one count each of stalking, harass; a course of conduct, following another person with the intent to harass and violating an exparte/protective order, according to charging documents. He is also charged with nine counts of illegal access to computers for allegedly tapping into Stephanie Ostmann's e-mail accounts and computer information, documents state.

He was being held without bond Friday night at the Washington County Detention Center, a jail spokesman said.

On April 4, Washington County Sheriff's Department investigators searched James Ostmann's Toyota pickup truck and allegedly found binoculars, a "blue 'neck gator', blue 'beanie' ski hat, three green work gloves, a CB antenna and a Bearcat 210 CB." About 10 feet of rappelling rope, a sledgehammer, claw hammer and nine "love notes/cards between the Ostmanns dated from 1998 to 2004" were also allegedly uncovered, according to court documents.


When they searched his house later that day, investigators found two insurance policies on his refrigerator for Stephanie Ostmann, documents state. One was in the amount of $175,000, for which James Ostmann was the "full beneficiary" and another was in the amount of $750,000, which was taken out by James Ostmann.

Stephanie Ostmann told James Ostmann she wanted a divorce in August 2005 and subsequently opened her own bank account, for which James Ostmann was allegedly found with paperwork. Call logs for Stephanie Ostmann's cell phone use were also found at James Ostmann's home, documents state. He also had software that enabled him to spy on Stephanie Ostmann's computer activity, deputies allege in charging documents.

Stephanie Ostmann obtained a protective order against James Ostmann, which is good through September 2006, documents state.

Investigators followed Stephanie Ostmann one day in March and observed James Ostmann watching Stephanie Ostmann at Long Meadow Shopping Center, documents state. Investigators left after seeing James Ostmann pull his pickup truck behind them and Ostmann allegedly followed the investigators to McDonald's on Northern Avenue and watched them from nearby, documents state.

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