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Article published November 28, 2013
Fairview Township mother faces trial in alleged gun hoax
CHICORA — A young mother will face trial on charges she took a domestic dispute too far. Ashley Rae Soose's phone call earlier this month that her ex-husband was on his way to their son's elementary school with a gun triggered tense moments and drastic action. But only after the Chicora Elementary School was locked down and heavily-armed troopers converged there did authorities rule the response was rooted in a ruse. Soose allegedly lied. The gun threat was a hoax. District Judge Lewis Stoughton at a preliminary hearing ordered the 27-year-old Fairview Township woman held for court on felony charges of terroristic threats. She also is charged with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. She remains in the Butler County Prison on $50,000 bail. At the end of testimony, Soose's attorney, public defender Joe Smith, asked Stoughton to dismiss the felony charges, arguing that his client had “a good faith belief” that an ongoing domestic dispute posed a potential “safety issue” that day. However, Karl blamed Soose for escalating the dispute with her ex-husband. “I'm sympathetic to the domestic issue,” he said, “but you don't manipulate the situation. This was taken too far.”