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Trial postponed for Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway, Md. Inc. administrator

Jeffrey Clark Ringer is charged with theft of more than $500 and theft scheme involving more than $500

July 15, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

The theft trial of the administrator of the Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway, Md. Inc. that was scheduled to begin Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court has been postponed until November at the request of the defense.

The trial of Jeffrey Clark Ringer is now scheduled for Nov. 25 and 26, according to court records.

Ringer, 53, of 11221 Hollywood Road, Hagerstown, is charged with theft of more than $500 and theft scheme involving more than $500.

Maryland State Police filed the charges in February, alleging the misuse of more than $10,000 in fire company funds between 2005 and 2008, including paying for bar and restaurant bills and tuition for a family member, the charging documents said.

“The allegations in this case go back to 2005,” defense attorney John Salvatore said in the written motion for the postponement filed last week. “There are over one hundred ... specified allegations against Mr. Ringer. Although the state may not proceed on all the allegations, the state indicated that it may amend a charge.”

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“For these reasons, multiple witnesses will be required for the state and the defense,” Salvatore wrote.

He also said the defense anticipates calling 10 or more witnesses on Ringer’s behalf during the trial, which would take more than one day.

Assistant State’s Attorney Rena W. Heneghan said the prosecution did not oppose the motion for continuance.

Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr., signed the order granting the postponement on Thursday.

“We’re hoping this case can be resolved favorably to both parties, but at this point it looks like it’s going to be a trial,” said attorney Susan Lochbaum of Salvatore’s law firm.

Ringer requested a circuit court jury trial in a May appearance in Washington County District Court.

Salvatore, who was out of town Monday, said at that time that he expected the prosecution would either drop the charges or Ringer would be acquitted in a trial.

“He’s satisfactorily explained 90 percent of the credit card charges,” Salvatore said in May.

Ringer, who is a former fire chief for Halfway, remains the company’s administrator, fire company Vice President Dave Donohue said.

“On the advice of our attorneys, we’re going to let the criminal case run its course” before any decision is made regarding Ringer’s position, Donohue said Monday.

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