By Joe Beck
Russell Ebersole, the kennel owner recently sentenced to two years in jail on several counts of animal cruelty, avoided further legal trouble Friday when a judge dismissed a case in which Ebersole was charged with brandishing a firearm.
Winchester General District Judge David Whitacre dismissed the case after hearing testimony from Mark Anderson, a man who has had long history of friction with Ebersole, 53.
Ebersole's attorney, Roger Inger, of Winchester, argued there was no evidence that his client ever produced a gun around Anderson, other than Anderson's testimony. Ebersole appeared at the defendant's table in his jail uniform, but did not testify.
Anderson initially testified under questioning by senior assistant commonwealth's attorney Derek Ashton. Anderson said his encounter with Ebersole on Sept. 6 began when he noticed a security camera at his home in the 1400 block of Ramseur Lane in Winchester showing Ebersole in a pickup truck outside on the street.
Anderson, who said he had served a no trespassing notice on Ebersole years before, jumped in his Jeep when he saw Ebersole drive away and tried to cut off the defendant at the intersection of Mahone Drive and Meadow Branch Avenue.
Anderson said he rolled down the window of his vehicle and yelled a mild profanity at Ebersole as he saw the defendant's pickup truck close to within about 25 feet of him.
"He just glared at me and raised up a handgun in front of me," Anderson said.
Anderson stuck by his insistence that he saw gun, despite suggestions from Inger that he could have been looking at a cell phone or some other object.
Inger also argued that his client had done nothing wrong in appearing in a pickup truck on a public street outside Anderson's home.
"He's the aggressor in this case," Inger said of Anderson. "He jumped in his Jeep and drove around to cut (Ebersole) off."
After the trial, Anderson agreed to a request by Inger to drop a protective order issued against Ebersole after the incident. Anderson said he was satisfied that Ebersole posed no threat to him while he finishes his jail sentence.
In an interview after the trial, Anderson said he sold the land now occupied by Ebersole's Aberdeeen Acres Pet Care Center in Stephenson more than a decade ago, and the two men have been involved in a series of disputes ever since, Anderson said.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org