Man faces charges after citizen’s arrest

By on October 26, 2011

An Ephrata man is facing a possible prison sentence for what he thought was a good deed.

John Hall, of Ephrata, "helped" with the arrest of Zane Robinson, a 20-year-old Denver man accused of sexually assaulting a number of boys.

However, the East Cocalico Township Police Department says Hall went too far.

The Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era stated that Hall had invited Robinson over to his home in September, questioning him about allegations a 13-year-old neighbor made about inappropriate contact involving Robinson over the summer. After he heard Robinson allegedly confess to the assaults, Hall handcuffed him and called the police.

When East Cocalico Township police officers arrived, Hall said that he was performing a citizen’s arrest.

According to a spokesman from East Cocalico Township police, an investigation began and Hall was later charged in a citation by mail with false imprisonment. The second-degree misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

Police maintain that Hall was charged because he crossed a line on multiple fronts.

Police allege that inviting Robinson to his home was a breach of the law. Another breach, according to an affidavit, was his use of handcuffs, which is classified as unlawful restraint.

According to the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era, County President Judge Joseph Madenspacher provided a definition of a citizen’s arrest as appropriate if the person making the arrest observed a felony offense.

Police say Hall admits he did not witness a crime, so this was not a felony in progress.

According to the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era, a district judge last allowed him to remain free on $500 bail. A preliminary hearing also was scheduled, but it was postponed because Hall did not have an attorney.

County officials, including District Attorney Craig Stedman, declined to discuss specifics of the case because it is still pending.

According to East Cocalico Township Police, Hall was charged with false imprisonment prior to Robinson being charged. Robinson was not taken into custody until the allegations were investigated.

The Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era reported that Robinson has since been imprisoned on $100,000 bail, charged with seven felonies and other offenses relating to the incidents he allegedly disclosed to Hall.

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