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Man found guilty in chainsaw threat against trooper, son

October 27, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Ralph L. Mason
Ralph L. Mason

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Berkeley County man accused of threatening to harm a West Virginia state trooper and his son with a chainsaw at their home in October 2010 was found guilty Thursday of three misdemeanor offenses.

Ralph L. Mason, 49, of Gerrardstown, W.Va., could be sentenced to up to 2 1/2 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of brandishing a deadly weapon, assault on a government representative and obstructing, according to Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory K. Jones.

The jury, which deliberated for a total of more than three hours Wednesday and Thursday, found Mason not guilty on one count of assault.

Presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gina M. Groh is scheduled to sentence Mason on Dec. 1.

Mason, whose birthday was Thursday, was incarcerated in Eastern Regional Jail n a $42,500 cash-only bond, which Groh earlier this year declined to modify, according to court and jail records.

The Oct. 1, 2010, incident at the home of Trooper Matthew Gillmore of the West Virginia State Police was investigated by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department.

Gillmore told authorities that the defendant was outside his home with a chainsaw making threats to the victim and also said he wanted Gillmore to “bring out his son so he could cut him,” according to court documents.

When deputies arrived to investigate, they found Mason yelling in a wooded area behind the trooper’s Gerrardstown-area residence.

The defendant was arrested, but only after deputies struggled to detain him and had to use a stun gun during an altercation with  him, court records said.

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