ASHLAND — A case between two feuding Mifflin Village council members that was slated for a Thursday trial was dismissed by Special Prosecutor Brian Gernert earlier this week.
Fred Craig, 65, was charged Dec. 15 with menacing by stalking, stemming from “over eight years as an apparent feud between neighbors.” That neighbor happens to be former Councilwoman Joyce Amos — who council expelled indefinitely earlier this year.
Craig was arrested and jailed for that charge on Jan. 5 by Jerry Snay, the village’s chief of police.
“I had just gotten home and was sitting down for dinner and (Snay) knocks on my door,” Craig said. “I walked up and answered the door. He grabs me and says ‘You’re going to jail’ and something about menacing.”
Craig said Snay wouldn’t tell him anything more about why he was being arrested and taken to jail.
But Craig has an idea why.
He alleges a conspiracy, involving the village’s former solicitor, Mike Brown, Snay, former Councilwoman Joyce Amos and Mifflin Village Mayor Vickie Schultz, to get Craig off council.
“There’s no doubt about that,” Craig said in January, pointing to the timeline of events outlined in a press release issued by Snay in January:
“According to the press release, it happened in October,” Craig said. “But there wasn’t a complaint filed until Dec. 15, which is the same night as the alley closing meeting.”
That meeting, Craig said, got heated — especially between himself and Amos. He believes that is what prompted her to file a formal complaint against him.
Snay has denied Craig’s claim of his involvement in a so-called conspiracy to remove him from council. He said the timing behind the delayed arrest was because of being on vacation and working only part-time for the village.
Schultz and Amos did not respond to requests to comment for this story.
Brown, who was fired by council on Jan. 20, declined to comment. When Craig was charged with menacing by stalking, Brown said previously he believed he was conflicted out of prosecuting the case because it involved two council members.
Gernert, the special prosecutor, dismissed Craig’s case without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled down the road, said Ashland Municipal Court Judge John Good.
Good, who declined to comment on the merits of the case — citing the fact it could come before him again — said there was no effort by Gernert to amend the original charge.
In February during a hearing, Gernert alluded he might amend the charge, saying he believed “there may be a criminal offense — I do not believe menacing by stalking fits in this matter.”
Gernert did not respond to requests for comment.