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Stalking charges against man forwarded

May 25, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

Defending himself on charges that he stalked and harassed his estranged wife, James Stephen Ostmann Sr. slapped law books on a Washington County District Court defense table Wednesday and proclaimed, "I am not the defendant."

Despite that statement, followed by a series of denouncements of his charges and his treatment since, Frederick County District Judge Oliver John Cejka Jr., sitting in Washington County, forwarded 13 charges against Ostmann to Circuit Court for trial.

"A criminal information was filed in the Circuit Court for Washington County. This is forwarded to Circuit Court," Cejka said over Ostmann, who continued, "They cannot hold me."

Ostmann, 39, of Hagerstown, is accused of stalking his estranged wife and tapping into her e-mails from August 2005 until April, documents state.

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On April 4, when Washington County Sheriff's Department investigators searched Ostmann's pickup truck, they allegedly found binoculars, a Bearcat 210 CB, about 10 feet of rappelling rope and other tools, clothing and love letters from the estranged couple's past, charging documents state.

When investigators searched Ostmann's house, they found two insurance policies on his refrigerator for his estranged wife, one for $175,000, for which Ostmann was the "full beneficiary," and another for $750,000, which allegedly was taken out by Ostmann, charging documents state. Investigators also followed Ostmann as he allegedly stalked his wife, according to charging documents.

Before his case was called Wednesday, Ostmann, wearing an orange Washington County Detention Center jumpsuit, smiled and took a seat outside a door to a holding cell, and placed what appeared to be a full paper grocery bag on his lap.

When his case was called, Ostmann placed the bag on the defense table and unloaded a series of heavy law books.

He claimed he was "not the defendant" and said, "I do not wish to contract with the court."

Ostmann alleged his First, Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights have been violated since his "kidnapping and incarceration at the Detention Center."

He said he was not given access to the law library at the jail and his rights to due process have been violated.

"Sixteen days is not enough time to prepare my legal proceedings," he said.

While Ostmann spoke, Special Prosecutor Teresa Bean, a Frederick County assistant state's attorney, told Cejka, "The District Court paperwork needs to be forwarded."

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