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Prior assault claims cited in first-degree harassment arrest

Assault with a deadly weapon is a serious charge anywhere in the United States, North Carolina included. An individual charged with this type of violent crime can garner the attention of the police when he or she falls under suspicion of other criminal conduct, even if there remains doubt concerning guilt for the assault allegation. But how much bearing, if any, should prior criminal charges have on subsequent allegations of criminal behavior?

A Columbus County public official with alleged history of criminal charges will soon find out. It appears that all prior allegations of criminal conduct against the man were either dismissals or acquittals. Nevertheless, he stands charged with first-degree harassment, the result of a complaint made by his ex-fiancé. Earlier this month the woman filed an incident report, saying someone entered her house and stolen papers containing the passwords to her email accounts. The following day she claims to have come home to find her computer moved and a new "favorites screen" arranged.

The public official was suspected, though no information was provided to indicate why. Further, the police dusted the woman's computer for fingerprints and found none. After learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest, the man voluntarily surrendered at police headquarters. He was released on $1,500 bail.

The matter will now proceed in criminal court. The man's prior assault with a deadly weapon charge would appear to have little, if any relevance, absent facts that indicate the claimed harassment victim and claimed assault victim are one in the same. A North Carolina attorney devoted to helping those charged with criminal law violations may offer some perspective and help prepare a defense to thwart the allegations.

Source: WWAY, "Victim says Columbus commissioner stole personal documents," Marissa Jasek, Aug. 22, 2011

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