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Convicted dog killer ordered to avoid neighbors

May 29, 2010|By DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN -- A Williamsport man will have to keep his distance from -- and keep his eyes off -- neighbors who sued him for harassing behavior and emotional distress, according to court orders issued Friday by Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell.

A jury on May 6 awarded plaintiffs Eric and Mary Haberkorn, Arthur and Sonja Pereschuk, and James and Renee Rudolph more than $150,000 in compensatory and punitive damages against Jeffrey Lynn Hurd, 56, of 11835 Camden Road.

On Wednesday, McDowell heard arguments for and against proposed injunctions to restrict Hurd's contact with the neighbors.

An attorney for the couples, Travis Poole, asked McDowell to prohibit Hurd from possessing firearms.

Hurd's attorney, William C. Wantz, argued his client has a right to possess and use firearms on his land for hunting, vermin control and other legitimate purposes.

The orders restrict where Hurd may carry and fire weapons, but do not prohibit him from owning guns.

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Hurd was convicted in 2009 on criminal charges that he shot and killed the Pereschuks' dog in 2007 and the Rudolphs' dog in 2008. The sentence imposed by Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III in that case included a 90-day jail term, as well as an order that Hurd not possess firearms, according to court records.

Hurd appealed the criminal convictions, but his appeal bond also prohibits him from possessing firearms, court records said.

In the case of the Haberkorns, the jury found that Hurd made death threats; harassed them with obscene and threatening gestures; engaged in repeated gunfire; maintained observation posts for spying; patrolled the property line while armed; piled brush along the property line; and used machinery to block access to their shared lane, according to the court order.

Regarding the Pereschuks and Rudolphs, the jury found Hurd patrolled their property lines while armed and engaged in repeated gunfire, the order stated.

McDowell ordered that Hurd have no contact with the plaintiffs, their families or guests without their consent. Hurd also was ordered not to carry a firearm within 150 yards of any of the plaintiffs' property lines.

There also are restrictions on Hurd firing weapons on his land, limiting it to a private shooting range he maintains, and to no more than two consecutive shots within any three-hour period, the order states. Hurd may only shoot during daylight hours, except during hunting seasons, the order states.

The order for the Haberkorns states that Hurd and his guests cannot observe them or their family and guests "for more than 5 minutes during any 8-hour period." Hurd also is prohibited from other "spying activity, including, but not limited to, walking armed or unarmed within 100 yards of the Haberkorns' property line."

The order also includes restrictions on Hurd using lewd, obscene, profane or insulting words or gestures toward them. That includes, but is not limited to, "pointing fingers, imitating the shooting of a gun ... displaying the middle finger, making comments of a sexual nature," the order states.

Hurd is prohibited from putting up any hunting blinds or observation posts on his land or on his father's land that would be visible from the Haberkorns' property.

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