GARDNER — Charges have been dismissed against a man who police say spit at two women on an Ashburnham hiking trail and threatening to infect them with COVID-19 two years ago.
Court records show that the two amended charges against Hale D. Powell of Westford were dismissed on Jan. 10 following a probationary period on the recommendation of the Probation Department. The dismissal was signed by Judge Mark Goldstein.
Powell was arrested days after police received a video of a man spitting at two unmasked hikers on a trail off Ashby Road following a verbal altercation on Nov. 21, 2020. He was 71 at the time. Powell, during the booking process, told officers he did not have COVID-19, police said.
Powell was arraigned at Gardner District Court where he pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and battery and issuing a false threat of a biological agent. He was ordered to quarantine and be tested for the virus and sentenced to probation.
On the video, Powell could be seen approaching the two women and telling them they were breaking the law by not wearing masks before spitting at them and telling them they would soon become sick.
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Police were able to identify Powell as the suspect because a woman in the video, which was shot by one of the hikers, could be heard saying, “Hale, Hale,” and pleading with the man to stop.
This article originally appeared on Gardner News: Charges against Hale Powell dismissed in Ashburnham COVID spitting case