Jerome man, 79, jailed on charges he stalked ex-witness

| Friday, May 2, 2014, 10:27 p.m.

SOMERSET — A 79-year-old man is jailed on allegations that he stalked a woman who testified against him when he was charged in 2009 with killing his second wife after just three weeks of marriage.

State police charged William McTonic of Jerome with stalking after he allegedly drove past the woman's home on Wednesday for at least the sixth time in recent weeks, the (Somerset) Daily American reported.

The woman, Geraldine Bailey, had dated McTonic before he married 73-year-old Ruth Anne Henderson in March 2009. Henderson was found shot to death on the back porch of her home on April 3, 2009. Henderson's daughter told police that her mother decided to seek a divorce a few days after the wedding, prompting threats from McTonic.

Bailey became a key witness because she told police that McTonic called to tell her his wife had been shot dead — though he didn't say by whom — about two hours before Henderson's body was found.

McTonic was jailed on homicide charges and ordered to stand trial after Bailey testified at a preliminary hearing in May 2009. But then-Somerset County District Attorney Jerry Spangler dropped the charges the following February, after a county judge threw out a statement McTonic gave to police about some guns officers found in his vehicle, including the suspected murder weapon.

McTonic was then charged in September 2010 with stalking Bailey after she told police that he kept sending her flowers, driving by her house and calling her.

McTonic told The Associated Press then that he was innocent, saying, “I can prove that lady called me 90 times in one month. So who's harassing who?”

Those stalking charges were eventually dropped by the current district attorney, Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser, in 2012. The prosecutor said then it wasn't because of a lack of evidence but because authorities felt it was in Bailey's best interest not to press the charges.

Despite that, McTonic was warned not to contact Bailey, according to state police, who filed the latest charges.

Bailey's attorney sent McTonic a certified letter in February warning him to stay off her property and not to contact her. Police say Bailey or other witnesses nevertheless saw McTonic drive past her house, honking his horn, on five occasions in March and April, leading police to stake out the woman's house on Wednesday.

That's when police said McTonic again drove by honking, telling police he was on his way home from church when they pulled him over. Troopers warned McTonic to leave the woman alone.

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