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Bail dropped to $1 when cops fail to show
A Windsor Township man charged with threatening to shoot state troopers and blow up the state police barracks in Loganville had his bail reduced from $250,000 to $1 Thursday.
Pending an interview with York County probation officers, Edward Gene Law could be released on supervised bail, a pretrial release similar to supervised probation. He will be monitored by a probation officer.
Law, 42, of 51 W. Main St., is charged with threatening to use weapons of mass destruction, making terroristic threats and driving with a suspended license with a blood-alcohol level greater than 0.02 percent, according to charging documents.
Postponed: He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing before District Judge John H. Fishel at 2 p.m. Thursday, but the matter was continued for two weeks when the arresting state police trooper failed to attend.
"The nature of the charges were such that you would have expected someone, anyone really, to show up," Fishel said.
A public defender then met with the judge and negotiated a bail reduction from $250,000 to a single dollar, known as nominal bail. A prosecutor from the York County District Attorney's Office participated in that meeting by phone, DA's office spokesman Kyle King confirmed.
Attempts to reach a state police representative who could comment and offer an explanation — both at the Loganville barracks and at state police headquarters in Harrisburg — were unsuccessful.
Nominal bail: Fishel said even though no one from the commonwealth showed, Law was still entitled to have a preliminary hearing at the scheduled date and time. Since no one from the state police appeared, Fishel was compelled to reduce Law's bail to a nominal amount, he said.
Public defender Brad Peiffer is representing Law, but the preliminary hearing was handled by Peiffer's fellow public defender, Catherine Himes. Peiffer did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Fishel said the state police's failure to appear gave the defense grounds to file an immediate motion to dismiss the charges against Law, which Himes did while meeting with Fishel and, via phone, the prosecution.
"I denied that request due to the nature of the charges," Fishel said. "But he cannot leave prison without first having an intake by probation."
Release requirements: Law does not just get to go free, Fishel explained. He will undergo an interview, the parameters of which are determined on a case-by-case basis but which might include a psychological assessment. Then, only if they can verify where he is going to stay and that he will be where he says he is going to be any time they come to check on him, will probation agree to release Law, he said.
"Then he would be able to post his nominal bail," Fishel said.
According to charging documents filed April 2, Law was overheard by family members saying he had a handgun that he planned to use to shoot state troopers, and that he had access to high explosives he intended to use to blow up the state police barracks in Loganville.
He also stated that if he could get more ammunition, he would use it to kill more troopers, according to the documents.
Threats alleged: Troopers called to Law's home by his family were told Law had a 9 mm gun and six bullets. He said he was going to use each bullet to kill a different state trooper because he was angry about a previous arrest for drunken driving, the documents said. The threats were made March 31 and April 1, charging documents allege.
State troopers issued a BOLO — be on the lookout — for Law, who had already left his residence by the time they arrived to speak with his family. Police in Cumberland Township in Adams County located Law driving in their jurisdiction and arrested him.
According to the documents, he was highly intoxicated at the time of his arrest. He remains charged in Adams County with DUI.
Law's preliminary hearing before Fishel is now scheduled for 2:15 p.m. May 26.