Allegations in sign destruction dismissed


Howard prosecutors dismissed charges against a Randallstown woman, accused of acting as a lookout while her husband defaced two Bush-Cheney signs on U.S. 40, because the arresting police officer did not appear for the District Court trial yesterday.

Prosecutors plan to refile charges against Stephanie Lizon, 35, for alleged destruction of property valued at less than $500 and conspiring to destroy property, said T. Wayne Kirwan, a spokesman for the state's attorney's office.

Officer Edward Upton, who was a key witness in the case, apparently did not appear in court because he was at police training, Kirwan said.

Lizon's husband, Peter Lizon, 30, is accused of using a bayonet to cut the centers out of the signs. He faces weapons charges and is scheduled for trial Jan. 27.

Their arrests, two of three in Howard on charges of defacing political signs, came during a rash of such incidents in the county before the November election.

Lizon's lawyer, Mark L. Goldstone, said he was "shocked" that the state's attorney would bring such criminal charges to prosecution.

"This is political," he said. "I'm just sort of flabbergasted that they're expending these sort of resources on Stephanie's case."

Lizon, of the first block of Valdivia Court, was arrested Oct. 1 after undercover police staked out the 4-foot-by-8-foot Bush-Cheney signs on U.S. 40.

Police saw a couple drive into the empty parking lot in front of a vacant grocery store building facing U.S. 40, near Executive Center Drive, at 4:45 p.m., according to charging documents.

While Peter Lizon was cutting the signs, Stephanie Lizon was looking up and down the road, apparently acting as a lookout, the documents state. She spent 22 hours in jail after being arrested, Goldstone said.

On Dec. 1, Corey Robert Cooke of Ellicott City pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property valued at less than $500 after he was arrested for striking down a Bush-Cheney sign and cutting holes in it.

Judge Neil Edward Axel sentenced Cooke to 30 days, suspending all but the two days he had served after his arrest, and a year of unsupervised probation. He also was ordered to perform 32 hours of community service.

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