×

Martinsburg man accused of making threatening posts

Miller allegedly posted personal information about witness, victim

A Martinsburg man faces charges over posts on a Facebook page known for being critical of police and the Blair County District Attorney’s Office.

Harry E. Miller, 42, was arraigned Thursday on two misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person after a state police investigation into posts Miller allegedly made on the Altoona and Surrounding Area Corruption Redux page in July that allegedly outted two people as confidential police informants and listed personal information about them, such as their photos and addresses.

Except, according to the charges, the two people were not confidential informants. One was a witness to an assault, and the other was a victim of an aggravated assault.

The charges point to two posts, one from July 17 and another from July 21, as criminal.

Miller was an administrator of the Facebook page Altoona and Surrounding Area Corruption, and police said there were multiple users listed as administrators and able to post to that page and its predecessor, the Altoona and Surrounding Area Redux page. It was on the Redux page where the two posts in question appeared in July. Facebook records obtained through a search warrant in late July allegedly revealed that the alias connected to the posts in question — Gunnery Sergeant Hartman — was in fact Miller.

Miller, who was convicted Aug. 9 of four felony gun counts and is free on bail awaiting sentencing, is accused of a crime because the posted information led to threats against one of the people and put both in danger, according to the charges and the Blair County District Attorney’s Office.

“You have a target on your back and if you testify you’ll have problems,” read one of the threats sent over the message app Snapchat to one of the persons named. The person named by the site also said he began receiving calls from the Johnstown area after his picture appeared on Facebook as an informant, but he did not answer those.

In the July 21 post, a photo of a letter was posted in which the attorney of one of the people named mentions a meeting with the District Attorney’s Office and an Altoona narcotics agent, but state police said it’s inaccurate by itself because the person considered working as an informant but decided against it.

The posts use derogatory terms for the two named individuals, such as “snitch,” and in one comment, allegedly made by Miller, he wrote, “And his address is on that paperwork as well. Just in case any of you (expletive deleted) want to drop by and say hi! Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.”

“That’s why we felt charges were warranted,” said Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks, who commended state police for their “conscientious” investigation. Weeks acknowledged that the Altoona Corruption Facebook pages have been highly critical of the District Attorney’s Office, himself included, in the past 12 months, but said there is a difference between posting an opinion and putting someone in danger by posting personal information and encouraging people to pay them a visit.

District Attorney Richard Consiglio said Wednesday that the posts put at least two people in danger and that amounts to a crime.

“It’s not malicious prosecution,” Consiglio said when asked about the history of the Facebook pages and their critique of his office and area law enforcement, particularly the confidential informant system.

Miller was arraigned Wednesday afternoon and released on a unsecured $50,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is slated for Oct. 5 before Magisterial District Judge Craig Ormsby.

Miller’s attorney, Robert Donaldson, said he had read the criminal complaint and the search warrant in the case.

“We’ll be testing the evidence of the prosecution’s case at the preliminary hearing,” Donaldson said, adding that the case could have implications on social media and what kind of post is considered a crime.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.

COMMENTS