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Judge finds enough evidence for assault case to proceed

October 02, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The case of a man charged with pulling a knife on another resident at a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Hagerstown was forwarded to Washington County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Washington County District Judge Ralph H. France II found at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing that there was enough evidence to send the trial of Darrin Jones to Circuit Court.

Jones, 43, is accused of pulling a knife on another man on Aug. 26 as they were living at the Wells House at 124 E. Baltimore St.

Hagerstown Police Lt. Tom Langston said after the hearing that Jones was charged with one count each of first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

Detective Jason Dietz testified during the preliminary hearing that officers were called to the Wells House on Aug. 26 for a report of a man being chased by another man who had a butcher knife. When officers arrived, Dietz said, the victim was standing in the front doorway of the facility.

Dietz said officers determined after questioning other people who were in the house that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Jones at the scene.

The alleged victim, Herbert Weare, later went to Washington County Parole and Probation and told a parole officer about the incident, Dietz said. Weare also made a subsequent visit to the Hagerstown Police Department for a formal interview on Aug. 29.

Hagerstown police then went to the Wells House on Aug. 30 with a search warrant to gather evidence regarding the alleged assault involving Jones and Weare.

Langston said Jones was picked up in early September on a warrant.

In a separate but related case, attorneys for the Wells House filed a motion in Circuit Court that said the Hagerstown Police Department unlawfully executed a search warrant in the Jones case and seized items from the facility that violated federal patient confidentiality laws.

On Friday, Washington County Circuit Court Judge John H. McDowell amended an earlier temporary restraining order, ordering the police department to turn over all items seized in the search until a hearing is held on a Wells House request for a preliminary injunction.

In his ruling, McDowell ordered that “all books, documents, records, photographs, equipment, machinery, recording devices, and any other items and materials, including those that were turned over to the Clerk of Court and ordered to be sealed, shall immediately be returned to Well’s House, Inc.”

Staff writer Don Aines contributed to this story.

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