Buffalo Mills man headed to court

Harder accused of assaulting victim during domestic dispute

BEDFORD — A magisterial district judge transferred a case involving a Buffalo Mills man accused of assaulting a victim during a domestic dispute to the Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday.

Christopher Scott Harder, 36, of 1343 Milligans Cove Road, is accused of punching the victim on the left side of her face on Nov. 17, according to a police criminal complaint.

Trooper Luke Hoover said at Wednesday’s preliminary hearing that a witness, who is a friend of the victim, reported the incident to police after seeing the victim’s swollen black eye during a FaceTime call.

The witness also reportedly told police that Harder has physically assaulted the victim multiple times.

When police responded to the scene, the victim reportedly told police nothing happened, but then reported Harder struck her, Hoover said. The trooper noted the victim’s black eye was swollen to the point that she couldn’t close her eye and took a photo of her face for evidence.

Police were allegedly unable to locate Harder at the time.

Harder’s defense attorney, Karen Ritchey, said the victim denied anything happened at first and commented on how the case just rests on the credibility of just the victim and witness. She said Wednesday there was no independent knowledge of the incident.

Bedford County Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Thomas argued disputes often happen in a private residence and not in public, directing the court’s attention to photographic evidence of the victim’s black eye.

He added if other people not involved in a case were required to see the crime, it would “hamstring” the commonwealth from prosecuting reported incidences.

Judge Tonya Osman found sufficient evidence to keep charges of simple assault and harassment against Harder in place.

The defendant is housed at the Bedford County Jail on a bail of 10 percent of $15,000. If bail is posted, Harder must refrain from having any contact with the victim.

Harder pleaded guilty to terroristic threats and simple assault charges in two prior cases, according to Thomas.

Mirror Staff Writer Shen Wu Tan is at 946-7457.

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