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Man facing rape charge found not guilty in separate burglary case

February 07, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — A Hagerstown man awaiting trial on allegations that he raped a girl last year was in Washington County Circuit Court on Thursday for a bench trial in another case involving charges he burglarized what had been his own apartment.

Judge Daniel P. Dwyer found Ryan Lee Kleckner not guilty of third- and fourth-degree burglary, but did find him guilty of malicious destruction of property in the Aug. 1, 2012, incident at 1192 Fairchild Ave. in Hagerstown.

Dwyer gave Kleckner a three-year suspended sentence and ordered him to pay $624.26 in restitution to the property owner, Robert Burger, and entered a judgment in favor of the insurance company for $4,286.79.

Kleckner was being held in the Washington County Detention Center on charges of first- and second-degree rape, second-degree sex offense, indecent exposure and other charges. He is accused of raping a preteen girl, court records said.

Kleckner’s trial on the rape and sexual offense allegations is scheduled for March 21, court records said.

In Thursday’s case, Kleckner was accused of breaking into the apartment and causing damage to appliances and fixtures, court records said.

Hagerstown Officer Douglas Hay testified that when he responded to a report of a burglary he arrived at the duplex and could hear banging noises and the sound of breaking glass coming from inside. A man, identified as Kleckner, walked out the back door and was taken into custody at gunpoint.

Kleckner told Hay it was his apartment, although Kleckner also said he recently moved to another address.

Kleckner had gotten behind on his rent after separating from his wife and had agreed to move out by Aug. 1, Burger testified. Burger testified that, earlier in the day, he had been in the apartment to clean it and replace the locks and there was no damage when he left.

On cross-examination by Assistant Public Defender Carl Creeden, Burger testified that Kleckner’s lease was to have expired Sept. 30, although there was a verbal agreement that he vacate the apartment earlier.

There was contradictory testimony as to whether Kleckner had a key on him that fit the locks Burger said he had changed. A piece of cardboard over a broken basement window apparently had been removed sometime after Burger left the house, according to testimony by Hay and Burger.

Creeden argued that “by Aug. 1” could have meant that Kleckner believed he had the right to occupy the apartment until that day.

Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Wilson argued that Kleckner, a former part-time employee in the circulation department of The Herald-Mail, was no longer a tenant and thus committed burglary.

In rendering his verdict, Dwyer said it could be “reasonably construed” that Kleckner believed he still had a right to enter the property. However, he said, there was evidence to convict on the malicious destruction of property charge.

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