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Kidnapping defendant has Va. assault conviction

June 16, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A man charged with kidnapping a woman near Martinsburg, W.Va., this week has a criminal record that includes a 2008 domestic violence charge involving a different woman, court records show.

Donald Berkley Surber Jr., who was arraigned Monday on the kidnapping charge, allegedly held his ex-girlfriend, Katherine Nicole Sharp, against her will at her home, West Virginia State Police have said.

At the end of the 26-hour standoff, Sharp, a 35-year-old mother of two, was found dead in her Raider Lane home, police said.

On Tuesday, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said she expects to get preliminary results of Sharp's autopsy Wednesday.

Police haven't commented on whether Surber, 37, of Winchester, Va., caused Sharp's death.

Court records show that Surber was charged last year in Frederick County, Va., with assault and battery and, on another occasion, violating a protective order.

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Last month, Surber was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on the assault and battery charge, with all of the time suspended, the Virginia Courts Case Information Web site says. He was fined $1,000 plus $141 in court costs, and was put on two years of unsupervised probation.

The same day, he was sentenced to 360 days on the protective order violation, with all but four days suspended, the state court Web site says. He was fined $1,000 plus $166 in court costs.

The assault and battery charge stems from an Aug. 11, 2008, offense, the Web site says.

In a criminal complaint filed that day, a woman accused Surber of grabbing her arm, lunging at her, screaming and making threats.

"He has a violent history with me in the past, including kidnapping with a knife," the woman wrote in her complaint, which The Winchester Star obtained Tuesday.

Surber was being held without bond in the Eastern Regional Jail near Martinsburg on Tuesday.

A preliminary hearing on the kidnapping charge is scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m. before Berkeley County Magistrate Joan Bragg.

The hostage standoff paralyzed the Ridgefield subdivision off W.Va. 9.

At about 11:45 a.m. Sunday, Sharp's daughter escaped from her house and called 911, reporting that her mother's ex-boyfriend was inside with a firearm, police said.

When authorities determined that Sharp was a hostage in her home, special response teams were called in to help police on the scene. Nearby homes were evacuated, according to state police.

Games-Neely said police last talked to Sharp in her home early Sunday evening. Authorities talked to Surber periodically Sunday and Monday.

The standoff ended shortly before 2 p.m. Monday. A little while later, police told Sharp's family and friends she had been found dead.

-- Staff writer Richard F. Belisle contributed to this story.

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