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Friday, November 14, 2008

[PA] Officer Yarbrough who said SOMEone shot him last year, now calls to threaten himSELF & wife

Lancaster New Era
By Tom Murse tmurse@LNPnews.com
Nov 13, 2008
[Excerpts] A former East Earl Township police officer pleaded guilty this morning to disguising his voice and making threats against himself and his wife on her cell phone, then reporting the bogus call to authorities. Martin Gregory Yarbrough, 40, of 1430 Main St., East Earl, said his actions in March were a mistake. "It was a ridiculous, foolish prank. A mistake," Yarbrough, wearing a dark suit and closely cropped hair, told county Judge Joseph C. Madenspacher this morning. The ex-cop asked Madenspacher to show mercy in sentencing him, saying that before he made the bogus threats he held himself to higher standards and more dignity. "But I would honorably accept and comply with any decision you make," he said. The judge, who is a former district attorney and had once worked closely with police, said he was troubled by having to accept a guilty plea from a former law-enforcement officer. "Your oath was to protect the community ... and you did betray that trust," the judge said. "I don't know what's behind this. To me it makes zero sense whatsoever." The judge sentenced Yarbrough to two years of probation and fined him $500 and court costs. Madenspacher also ordered Yarbrough to perform 100 hours of community service and undergo a mental-health evaluation. "I'm going to show you mercy," the judge said. "But you have to understand there are consequences for your actions." Yarbrough pleaded guilty today to two counts of filing false reports — one for alerting police to the threatening call he made, and another for trying to implicate someone else for making it. The maximum punishment for the most serious of the two charges is two years in jail and a fine of $5,000. Yarbrough is the same officer who was mysteriously shot with his own weapon outside his home last year in what is still an unsolved case. No one has been charged in the incident. In the phone-call threat case, an investigation showed the original call came from a pay phone at the Wal-Mart in Ephrata, and that Yarbrough and his personal vehicle were at the phone at the time the call was made. The police department suspended Yarbrough without pay after filing the charges. Yarbrough resigned a month later, in May, after serving on the force for nearly six years... Yarbrough called fellow East Earl Officer Daniel Nipper to his home on March 21 to listen to a message on his wife Christina's cell phone. The message stated: "Your husband is a dead man and your (expletive) is mine"... Nipper filed a criminal report listing Mrs. Yarbrough as a victim of harassment by communications and terroristic threats. Nipper received permission from Mrs. Yarbrough on March 26 to make a digital copy of the cell phone threat. Police learned the call originated from a pay phone outside the Wal-Mart store on Route 322 in Ephrata... Police then obtained a DVD that Wal-Mart's security cameras recorded at the time the call was made. Nipper said he recognized Officer Yarbrough and his black Chevrolet pickup at the pay phone... Yarbrough had been involved in a high-profile case in June 2007 in which the officer had been shot with his own gun outside his home. He told state police he was wounded in an early-morning scuffle with someone he saw standing outside his home along Route 23... told investigators the gun discharged during the scuffle. He was wounded and the suspect, described only as a man in dark clothing, disappeared, according to newspaper records. Yarbrough was flown to Lancaster General Hospital for treatment of leg injuries as dozens of law-enforcement officers searched the area for five hours. No charges have been filed in the case, which is under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police... [Full article here]

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