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Conewago Twp. 'menace' rants to judge after charges dropped
On Aug. 4, 2016, Chad Stoner walked into the Conewago Township building and allegedly made threats. Stoner's girlfriend, Emily Winand, posted this video of the encounter.
A Conewago Township man described by his federal prosecutor as "a total and complete menace" had his three criminal cases dropped in York County Court because he is already serving 12½ years in federal prison for his crimes.
But Chad Stoner didn't seem pleased about that during his hearing Tuesday, Oct. 23, before Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook.
As he did at his federal sentencing hearing for threatening police and township officials and for illegal gun possession, Stoner launched into a litany of complaints about his treatment, the legal system and the media.
"Help me to understand this," Stoner said to Cook. "You people accuse me of these crimes, then you charged me with these crimes, then you threw me in jail for ... two years without the possibility of bail. Then while I was in jail, you signed several warrants on these cases, one of which you told the police to break into my house causing over several thousand dollars ... in damages."
Cook said she signed no search warrant, "so I'm not sure who you're addressing that to."
'Kill list': Stoner was referring to a search of his home during which police found what was later described by a prosecutor as "essentially a kill list" containing the names of some Northern York County Regional police officers and their family members as well as some of their home addresses and other personal information.
Stoner, 30, then switched gears:
"Then while I was jail you put me on several front-page articles of (The York Dispatch) ... telling the community that I'm this heinous, violent menace to society for these alleged crimes."
"I certainly did not do that," Cook replied. "You might talk to the reporter (seated) behind you, but I don't have any control over the press."
It was Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Terz who, at Stoner's Aug. 30 sentencing hearing in Harrisburg's federal court, described Stoner as "a total and complete menace to the community in which he's living."
'Very foul': Undeterred, Stoner continued:
"Now over two years later you guys come back and say, 'You know what, never mind. Sorry. No harm, no foul.' You know what? It is harmful. It's very foul."
Cook corrected him by saying that his York County charges were dropped because he was convicted and sentenced in federal court for the same, or similar, criminal conduct.
It’s unclear whether Stoner understands the legal principle of double jeopardy.
Cook advised Stoner to speak with his local defense attorney, Farley Holt, about his avenues of redress. Holt was out of town and unable to attend Tuesday's hearing, according to the judge.
As sheriff's deputies led him from the courtroom, Stoner ended his salvo of accusations by saying, "Sure. We all know what the avenues of redress are. This whole system of moral compass is so screwed up (a person) wouldn't know justice if it hit him in his face."
'An excuse for everything': Stoner previously complained about "the system" at his federal sentencing hearing, prompting Terz to note that Stoner has an excuse for everything and sees himself as a victim, not a perpetrator or predator.
Stoner "simply cannot accept the voice of authority" and "shows absolutely no remorse," Terz has said. Stoner's prior record includes multiple cases of simple assault as well as carrying a prohibited offensive weapon, making terroristic threats, stalking, resisting arrest and harassment.
Stoner's girlfriend, 29-year-old Emily Winand, was sentenced Sept. 26 to 57 months in federal prison and has so far served about 19 months of it. She was not charged in York County.
U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane, who presided over the federal cases of Stoner and Winand, called the couple's threats to public servants "not just serious — they were capable of being carried out."
Kane also described Stoner as "unhinged" during Winand's sentencing hearing.
'Cop-killer' bullets: A jury found Stoner guilty in December of transmitting a threat over the internet, conspiracy to commit that offense and two counts of mailing threatening communications.
The last charge was for writing threatening statements about police in letters he mailed to Winand from York County Prison.
In letters and recorded phone conversations from the prison, he spoke to Winand about killing police and instructed her to "stock up" on "cop killer" bullets.
He also can be seen on video telling a Conewago Township official that a police massacre could happen there, the way it happened in Dallas. A second video shows him disrupting a township supervisors' meeting.
He and Winand agreed that she should post those videos on YouTube, officials have said.
Defense attorney Davis Younts, who represented Stoner in federal court, has said Stoner's purpose for having Winand post the videos was to draw attention to purported corruption.
Chad Stoner was charged with disrupting a public meeting and disorderly conduct after this encounter at a Conewago Township board of supervisors meeting on Aug. 3, 2016. His girlfriend, Emily Winand, filmed the video and posted it on YouTube.
Increased security: Testimony from 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 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.")
When Stoner went to the Conewago Township building on Aug. 4, 2016, and allegedly made a garbled threat that Conewago Township could turn into Dallas, he had a sheath knife on his belt and what appeared to be a handgun strapped to his thigh, according to trial testimony.
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.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.