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Dog shooter denies making threats, harassment

May 04, 2010|By DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN -- Seven days of testimony in the civil trial of feuding neighbors ended Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court with defendant Jeffrey Lynn Hurd testifying that he never made death threats, spied upon or otherwise harassed the three couples who have sued him.

The case could go to the jury later today or Thursday after closing arguments by Hurd's attorney, William Wantz, and D. Bruce Poole, who represents plaintiffs Eric and Mary Haberkorn, James and Renee Rudolph, and Arthur and Sonja Pereschuk.

The plaintiffs are suing for intentional infliction of emotional stress and nuisance claims, according to court records.

The plaintiffs have testified that Hurd, 56, of 11845 Camden Road near Williamsport, has made obscene gestures, used profanity, patrolled his property while armed and made threats against them over a period of years. Hurd denied that Tuesday.

Eric Haberkorn testified last week that he was concerned about a ravine being filled on the land of John Hurd, Jeffrey Hurd's father, in 2006 and a shale mining operation on Jeffrey Hurd's land. Most of the confrontations with the defendant occurred after Haberkorn asked government officials and agencies to check into the operations, Haberkorn testified.

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The Pereschuks testified that Jeffrey Hurd shot their dog when it went onto his land in July 2007. In May 2008, Hurd shot the Rudolphs' dog, the Rudolphs testified.

Hurd testified the Pereschuks' dog had been chasing deer on his land for about two hours before it was shot. The Pereschuks testified the dog was gone only about 10 minutes.

The Rudolphs' dog was chasing a turkey on his land, Hurd testified. Renee Rudolph was recalled to the stand by Poole on Tuesday and testified that Hurd threatened to shoot her when she and her husband came to find the dog.

Hurd testified he has planted trees and food sources to attract wildlife to his land. He testified he sometimes hunted groundhogs, skunks and other animals on his land, but said he did not patrol his property line while armed or observe his neighbors from hunting stands.

While denying that he spied on his neighbors, Hurd testified he had, on occasion, gone to see what was happening at the Haberkorns' property when they had parties.

On Tuesday, Wantz called neighbors of Hurd who testified that the shale mine operation did not cause excessive dust or other problems. Debra Ellis testified Eric Haberkorn approached her about supporting efforts to limit the mining operation, but she declined.

"I didn't think I could take a stand against someone's livelihood based on what they might do," Ellis testified.

"Mr. Hurd is a very nice person" who helped with plowing snow at their home, Kim Demmitt testified. She and her husband, Robert, testified they never saw Hurd make obscene gestures or use profanity.

On cross-examination, the Demmitts testified they had no knowledge as to whether Hurd had threatened or spied on the Haberkorns, Rudolphs and Pereschuks.

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