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Police: Powder sent to Hagerstown law office of former judge brought back memories of bombing

December 10, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- An envelope containing white powder was delivered to the downtown Hagerstown law office of attorney John Corderman, a former judge who was injured in a bombing nearly 20 years ago, Lt. Mike King said Wednesday.

King said the powder tested negative for anthrax and was found to be harmless.

Hagerstown Police and emergency personnel received a call at 10:27 a.m. Wednesday to respond to a report of a suspicious letter delivered to an office in a building at 5 Public Square in downtown Hagerstown. Corderman's office is one of several inside that building.

Police and emergency responders cleared the building, and members of a Hazmat team wearing respirators went inside.

Those who vacated the building were able to return at about 12:30 p.m., King said.

King said police believe the powder was sent to Corderman by an inmate at North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland, Md.

The police department contacted officials at the state prison but had not spoken to the inmate, who was incarcerated in connection with a 1994 murder in Hagerstown, King said.

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The inmate had not been charged as of Wednesday.

King said police probably would interview the inmate today or Friday.

Inmates in state prisons are required to put their names and return addresses on outgoing mail, said Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the state Division of Correction.

He said not all outgoing mail is subject to inspection.

"There would have to be a reason to search it," Vernarelli said.

King said the call to the office brought back memories of a bombing in which Corderman was injured in 1989.

"It sent up red flags," King said.

Corderman, a Washington County Circuit judge at the time, was injured Dec. 22, 1989, when a package was delivered to his Hagerstown apartment.

Corderman was injured in the hand, abdomen and eardrums when the package exploded, and was hospitalized until Christmas Day.

No one was charged in that incident.

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