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Man granted bond

held for separate charge

August 09, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - A Hagerstown man charged with stalking his estranged wife and tapping into her e-mail and phone accounts was granted a $300,000 fully secured bond in the case Tuesday during a Washington County Circuit Court bond review hearing.

Special Prosecutor Teresa Bean, a Frederick County assistant state's attorney assigned to the case, said James Stephen Ostmann Sr., 39, is being held without bond at the Washington County Detention Center on a separate violation of protective order charge, which a jail spokesman confirmed.

Ostmann Sr., of 990 Monroe Ave., faces 13 charges, including stalking and illegal access to computers, for allegedly stalking Stephanie Ostmann between Aug. 1, 2005, and April 1, 2006.

Stephen Ostmann Sr., who had been held without bond in connection with the stalking case, and his friend, Ruth Sokolove, testified Tuesday before Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III about how his attitude has changed since his April 6 incarceration. Ostmann testified that he does not intend to harm his estranged wife.

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Wright granted a fully secured $300,000 bond for Ostmann, who talked after the case's dismissal with his parents.

Stephanie Ostmann said after the hearing that she worries Ostmann will make bond.

"It makes me sick to my stomach," she said. "I don't want to go back to living a living hell."

Bean pleaded with Wright to deny Ostmann a bond, saying that since his arrest, he has sent paperwork to Stephanie from the jail. She said she has opposed three times his request for bond in this case.

"He cannot leave this victim alone. He just can't," she said.

She said that Washington County Sheriff's Department investigators uncovered a life insurance policy for Stephanie, for which James was the sole beneficiary, tacked to his refrigerator while executing a search warrant at his home. Ostmann denied the discovery on the stand, saying experienced investigators would have taken a picture of those policies.

Bean told him there were three investigators who could corroborate that the policy was found. She said she has witnesses who would testify Ostmann bought camouflage clothes, face paint and a wig "to spy on Mrs. Ostmann."

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