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Del. Myers testifies in civil suit against Williamsport man

April 27, 2010|By DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN -- Forty-five minutes of voicemails to Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. were played Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court in the case of a Williamsport man being sued by his neighbors, in part for the killings of two dogs.

Myers, R-Washington/Allegany, was on the witness stand to testify about the voicemails from Jeffrey Hurd, the defendant in the case, and about e-mails between Myers and one of the plaintiffs, Eric Haberkorn.

Hurd, 56, of 11845 Camden Road, is being sued by Eric and Mary Haberkorn, Arthur and Sonja Pereschuk and James and Renee Rudolph for intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to D. Bruce Poole, the attorney for the plaintiffs. The families are also suing over several nuisance claims, he said.

The sound quality of the voicemails, left over a two-day period in 2007, was poor, but Hurd could be heard talking about a business he operated on land owned by his father, John Hurd. At one point, Hurd said, "My neighbors cost me $200,000 for a one-man business."

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In answers to questions from Poole, Myers testified there were references on the voicemails to his grandchildren and "poisoned doughnuts."

"Was I scared? No," Myers testified. Myers turned the voicemails over to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, but did not seek criminal charges against Hurd, he testified.

Myers testified he had been contacted by Eric Haberkorn concerning an excavation on John Hurd's property that was being filled with construction debris. Myers testified he was contacted "as a state legislator simply to look into something ... to find out for a constituent where he could get help."

Myers testified he met Haberkorn at one point, and was concerned about dust and noise generated by Hurd's business, as well as whether it was a mining operation.

Myers was asked by Hurd's attorney, William Wantz, about an exchange of e-mails between him and Haberkorn in 2007 and 2008, including one in which the delegate wrote, "I want to make sure Mr. Hurd is put in his place."

"I sure did," Myers testified when asked if he wrote that e-mail. He testified he thought "we all, as citizens, have a responsibility to obey the law," and his interest was in knowing that Hurd was in compliance with state and county regulations.

In another e-mail, Eric Haberkorn wrote to Myers about contacting the state comptroller.

"That's the silver bullet, and I don't mean Coors Light," Haberkorn wrote.

Myers testified that was in reference to contacting the comptroller's office to see if Hurd was collecting and turning over sales taxes from his business to the state.

"E-mails are a conversation more than a letter," Myers testified about wording of the communications.

Much of the testimony on Monday, the first day of the trial, concerned the shooting of the Pereschuks' dog, Bristol, in 2007 and the Rudolphs' dog, Harley, in 2008. On Tuesday, Mary Haberkorn testified that she was fearful of Hurd many years earlier.

Hurd would walk the property line of his father's land "for hours at a time with a rifle on his shoulder," Mary Haberkorn testified. Hurd also built "observation posts" on his father's land to watch her home and could sometimes be seen crawling on the ground watching the family, she testified.

"He's threatened my husband's life on many occasions," Mary Haberkorn said of Hurd.

The trial is scheduled to last up to 10 days.

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