An Elizabethtown man’s felony charge over witness intimidation was dismissed, but a spokesman for the prosecution said it might be refiled.
Mathew N. Powers, 46, was charged with the first-degree felony of intimidate witness/victim ― withhold testimony for an offense that police said took place on May 5, court records show. The charge was dismissed in Magisterial District Judge Jayne F. Duncan’s court on Wednesday, Aug. 2.
Brett A. Hambright, a spokesman for the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, explained why the charge was dismissed in an email message to the Advocate.
“We reached this decision because the case could not progress further without cooperation and involvement from a certain key party in the case,” Hambright wrote. “There is an option to refile. We have not yet made a final decision on that.”
Previously, Powers had been facing a felony charge because a woman accused him of assaulting her in his apartment along North Locust Street near Willow Street on March 12. Charges were files against him in April for the first-degree felony of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse ― forcible compulsion and the second-degree misdemeanors of simple assault and unsworn falsification to authorities. Those charges no longer appear in court records available online.
Elizabethtown Police Officer Alexander J. Reed described the events leading up to the witness intimidation charge in a sworn statement filed in court. Reed wrote in his sworn statement that on May 10, he and Officer Dustin Ryan (who has since been promoted to detective) arrested Powers on a warrant “on charges relating to an incident that occurred on 3/12/2017,” which is the date Powers had been accused of attacking the woman. Reed wrote that Powers said he had information that would prove his innocence: text messages that would prove the woman planned to falsely accuse him of sexual assault unless he paid her money.
Reed wrote in his sworn statement that Powers gave written permission for police to search his phone’s text messages. But instead of finding evidence sustaining Powers’ allegations that he was being blackmailed, Reed wrote that he found text messages that Powers sent to the woman between May 5 and May 8 in which he asked her to withdraw the charges and not to testify against him.
“Powers also states that he is very scared and he will go to prison for a long time if she goes forward with these charges. Powers would continue to send these messages even though [the woman] never responded,” Reed wrote in his sworn statement.
It was unclear why the charges from March 12 no longer appear in court records available online. The district attorney’s spokesman did not answer that question in his email message. The Advocate invited Powers’ lawyer, Alan Gary Goldberg, to explain, but he declined to comment, an employee of his law office said.