Probation for man who threatened to kill cops

John Joyce

Edward Law, the man the Pennsylvania State Police say threatened to shoot and kill state troopers and blow up a police barracks, walked out of a Windsor Township Magisterial District Courtroom Thursday afternoon after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and to driving drunk on a suspended license.

Edward Law, right, speaks with public defender Brad Peiffer after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and DUI in court Thursday

Magisterial District Judge John H. Fishel sentenced Law, 42, to house arrest with electronic monitoring for 47 days, the balance of a 90-day sentence plus six months probation, with credit given for time served. Law was also ordered to pay all court costs.

Law had been free on $1 bond since May 16. Fishel reduced the bail amount from $250,000 earlier this month because the arresting state trooper failed to show up to Law's originally scheduled preliminary hearing on May 12. The state police later explained the missed court date as a scheduling mix-up.

Law's public defender, Brad Peiffer, was not present at the initial proceeding either and had a fellow public defender stand in for him.

All parties were present in the courtroom Thursday

Satisfied: "We think this is a just resolution," Peiffer said.

Peiffer said his client admitted to disorderly conduct and to the DUI, but he could not confirm whether or not Law ever had access to actual explosives or, as others close to the case had suggested, "just had some fireworks." The charge involving possession of weapons of mass destruction was withdrawn, he said.

He said Law still has charges pending in Adams County — the DUI charge from the time of his arrest — but other than that, this whole matter will be behind his client once he meets the requirements of his supervised probation.

As part of the plea agreement, York County District Attorney's Office deputy prosecutor R.J. Fisher agreed to withdraw the two additional charges of threatening placement of a bomb and making terroristic threats, both of which are first-degree misdemeanors which would have carried potential jail sentences had Law been convicted.

Fisher, speaking after the proceeding, said the state determined after conducting an investigation and considering the evidence against Law, it was more beneficial to both parties to accept the plea agreement rather than take the matter to trial.

Charges: Law was arrested April 1 in Adams County by Cumberland Township police officers who spotted his vehicle. All law enforcement agencies in the area had been given a description of Law's vehicle, a white Mercury Mountaineer, and were advised to be on the lookout for him. The reason Law was wanted, according to charging documents, was because hours earlier state troopers had responded to his home at 51 W. Main St. in Windsor Township, where his wife told them her husband had threatened to shoot and kill six state troopers and was planning to place a homemade explosive device at the state police station in Loganville.

He said he owned a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol and had six bullets. He was going to use each bullet to kill a trooper and then he was going to blow up the police station, according to the documents.

Law was placed in York County prison to await a preliminary hearing. That hearing was continued twice, once due to the judge being unavailable and the second time due to the trooper's failure to show. After the second continuance, Fishel ordered Law's bail reduced to a nominal amount — $1 — and ordered his release on the condition of a battery of evaluations by the department of probation to verify Law would comply with supervised release.

Fisher said as long as Law complies with the restrictions set forth Thursday with his house arrest and electronic monitoring he will have no further business to conduct with the courts.

"If he violates those restrictions then it will be in the hands of probation," Fisher said.