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Man who shot dogs wants to start serving sentence

Judge denies Jeffrey Lynn Hurd's motion for work release

August 11, 2010|By DON AINES

Jeffrey Lynn Hurd was offered time to get his affairs in order before serving a 90-day sentence for shooting a neighbor's dog, but he told Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III on Wednesday that he wanted to start serving the sentence immediately.

Hurd, 56, of 11845 Camden Road in Williamsport, was convicted in 2008 of two counts each of mutilating an animal and malicious destruction of property for shooting two dogs, one belonging to Arthur and Sonja Pereschuk in 2007, and another belonging to James and Renee Rudolph in 2007, according to court records.

"I don't think you're a bad person. I just think you're different," Boone told Hurd before denying his motion for work release. "Sometimes, I think you overreact."

The convictions for shooting the Pereschuks' dog, Bristol, were overturned by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which ruled Hurd acted legally, based on his claim that the dog was chasing a deer on his property. The court upheld the convictions for shooting the Rudolphs' dog, Harley, because state law does not allow a civilian to shoot a dog chasing a game bird, in this case a turkey.

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Boone imposed 90-day concurrent sentences in the case before the appeal, but Hurd had a motion for modification of his sentence to allow him to be on work release. A March hearing on the motion was postponed when the Maryland Office of the Attorney General asked the state's Court of Appeals to review the overturned conviction.

The Court of Appeals later declined to grant further review of the issue, Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael said.

In a civil case that stemmed in part from the shootings of the dogs, a jury in May awarded more than $150,000 to the Pereschuks, Rudolphs and another couple, Eric and Mary Haberkorn. Boone noted that the outcome of that case, tried before Circuit Judge John H. McDowell, was being appealed by Hurd.

Hurd's attorney, Lewis Metzner, asked for work release for Hurd so that he could operate his business, which includes selling wood and hauling dirt, at home.

"The victims in this case should be entitled to some peace, even if it's only 90 days," Michael told Boone.

During the civil trial, the Pereschuks, Rudolphs and Haberkorns testified that Hurd had harassed them, spied upon them and behaved in a threatening manner toward them for years.

"My grandchildren have learned a lot about the court system through this ... I would like them to learn today that crime doesn't pay," said Sonja Pereschuk.

Hurd's job will be waiting for him when he gets out of jail, she said.

"This case, to say the least, has been a hot button case," Boone said.

The judge said it was "a shame" that relations between Hurd and his neighbors had become so acrimonious.

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