Federal prison for girlfriend of Conewago Twp. 'menace'
The girlfriend of Conewago Township "menace" Chad Stoner must spend about three years in federal prison for her role in their conspiracy against police and township officials.
Although no one in Harrisburg's federal court on Wednesday, Sept. 26, disputed that Stoner — who was recently sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison — was the driving force in threats made against Northern York County Regional Police and Conewago Township officials, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Terz argued that Emily Winand's contribution was as an active participant.
Presiding U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane sentenced the 29-year-old Winand to 57 months in federal prison plus two years of supervised release, which is the federal version of probation.
Winand has already spent about 18 months locked up in the Adams County prison awaiting sentencing and will get credit for time served.
'Unhinged': The judge noted that she'll "never understand" how a bright young woman with an education, opportunities and a loving, supportive family could turn away from that family "and attach herself to the Stoners and to someone who is clearly unhinged."
Kane also noted in court that the threats were serious and directed at public servants.
"Not just serious — they were capable of being carried out," the judge said.
Terz reminded the judge that Winand hid her AR-15 rifle from FBI agents when she knew they were looking for it and never protested or backed away when Stoner sent her a letter from prison instructing her to buy as many "cop-killer" bullets as she could, because they were going to need them.
Inside a locked safe in the bedroom Winand and Stoner shared at his parents' Copenhaffer Road home, raiding law-enforcement officers found the names of cops, their wives and other family members, their addresses and other personal information, Terz noted.
"She was more than just a passenger on the Chad Stoner train," he said. "She is still actively participating in whatever scheme he's trying to perpetrate."
Terz has called the list of officers' names "essentially a kill list" and described Stoner in open court as "a total and complete menace to the community in which he's living."
'Somewhat manipulated': Paul Kovatch, Winand's defense attorney, told the judge that his client is a loving, nurturing person who posted videos of Stoner's threats on YouTube "to bolster public support" for him.
"He somewhat manipulated her and somewhat isolated her from her family," Kovatch said. "He's a very controlling person, a very demanding person."
Teresa Winand spoke in court, telling the judge that it was her daughter's 29th's birthday.
"She brought much joy to our family," Teresa Winand said. "She is much loved by her family — and missed."
After a painful breakup in college, Emily Winand began to rebel against her religious upbringing, according to her mother.
"That's when she met Chad," Teresa Winand said. "She admired him because he was standing up for what he thought was right."
Teresa Winand said she and her husband couldn't understand why the Stoners "seemed to have a lot more influence over (Emily) than we did at the time," and she told Judge Kane that "we had a lot of concerns about her relationship with Chad."
Apologized: Emily Winand apologized in court.
"I didn't really grasp the severity of the circumstances," she said. "I (now) understand why ... I'm here today. We didn't conduct ourselves the way we should have."
She told Kane that she's working on trying to more fully understand her own motivations and herself.
Kane, in addition to prison, ordered Winand to pay an $800 fine and participate in alcohol and substance-abuse treatment programs.
The background: Winand pleaded guilty Oct. 10, 2017, to obstruction of justice and conspiracy to transmit a threat via interstate commerce. She did not testify against Stoner at his trial.
Stoner had been clashing with Conewago Township officials and Northern Regional Police for some time when he allegedly disrupted the township supervisors' Aug. 3, 2016, public meeting and was arrested and removed.
It was the next day that he and Winand returned to the building and spoke with township manager Lou Anne Bostic. It was to her that Stoner made a garbled threat referencing the July 2016 police massacre in Dallas, saying that a police massacre could happen in Conewago Township too.
He and Winand then posted videos on YouTube of that confrontation and of Stoner disrupting the supervisors' meeting.
As he was being removed from that meeting, Stoner told a Northern Regional officer that the township was going to need its active-shooter emergency plan, according to trial testimony.
A jury on Dec. 5, 2017, found Stoner, 30, guilty of transmitting a threat over the internet, conspiracy to commit that offense and two counts of mailing threatening communications for writing threatening statements about police in letters to his girlfriend.
Stoner appeared in Harrisburg's federal court on Aug. 30, where Kane sentenced him to 12½ years in prison.
Beefed up security: Stoner's trial revealed that Conewago Township officials beefed up security measures because they were concerned about what Stoner might do. That included installing cameras and electric buzzers at the township building and having officials park in a locked lot.
The three township supervisors even started carrying handguns for protection, according to trial testimony, and made plans to install "bulletproof" glass at the transaction window.
Stoner later pointed out in a prison letter to Winand that the glass is actually only bullet-resistant and that 5.56 Raufoss rounds would cut through it "like a hot knife through butter."
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.