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Williamsport man found in contempt of court, ordered to pay $4,000

November 21, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Williamsport man who was ordered by a Washington County Circuit Court judge to keep his distance from neighbors following a 2010 civil trial was found in contempt of court last week and was ordered to pay $4,000 in attorney’s fees to two of the plaintiffs.

Jeffrey Lynn Hurd, 58, of 11835 Camden Road, was convicted in 2009 on criminal charges that he shot and killed the dog of one neighbor in 2007 and the dog of another neighbor in 2008. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail. The convictions in one of the animal’s deaths were reversed on appeal, court records show.

A civil case filed by the dogs’ owners, as well as another couple, Eric and Mary Haberkorn, went to a jury trial in 2010. The jury awarded the plaintiffs more than $150,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell later issued a court order instructing Hurd to keep his distance and to curtail certain activities in proximity to the plaintiffs, whether on his property or on the property of his father.

Last week, Circuit Judge Daniel P. Dwyer found Hurd in “willful contempt” of the court order and ordered him to pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees within 30 days, court records show.

In March, the Haberkorns filed a petition for contempt of court, alleging that Hurd violated the court order earlier that month while on his father’s property.

In affidavits filed with the petition, the Haberkorns stated that Hurd was cutting trees and piling brush on his father’s property within 75 yards of their home. On March 8, Mary Haberkorn’s affidavit alleged, Hurd engaged in similar activity, along with “placing his hands on his hips and pointing his hands toward his crotch,” the affidavit stated.

The Haberkorns’ affidavits stated there were other activities and gestures in violation of the court order on March 11, 12, 14 and 16, all of which occurred within 75 yards of their property.

Hurd denied the allegations in his written answer to the petition, according to court records.

A hearing was held Nov. 16 before Dwyer, in which testimony was heard from the Haberkorns, Hurd and other witnesses, court records show.

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