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Open-line 911 call leads to assault, animal cruelty charges for Masontown man

A Preston County man is in custody after police responded to an open-line 911 distress call coming from an address on Ridge Road in Masontown.  On the call, a female could be heard screaming and crying with a male yelling in the background.

While en route to the residence, officers were informed of an alert on the suspected address to bring extra law enforcement units due to an aggressive male.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Senior Trooper J.L. Anglin, once on scene officers made contact with Robert Franklin Lambert III, 47, of Masontown.

Anglin wrote that he, as well as assisting officers from both the State Police and Preston County Sheriff’s Department, “were aware of [Lambert’s] violent tendencies and past toward law enforcement.”

Anglin said in the interest of officer safety, they attempted to detain Lambert in order to speak with him; however, Lambert did not cooperate, becoming irate and getting into an aggressive stance before trying to run away, the complaint said.  Anglin deployed his taser and was then able to take Lambert into custody without further incident.

Officers also made contact with the female victim who Anglin said was acting “in a very scared and hysterical manner,” and appeared to have been crying as well.

The victim, who requested to speak with officers away from Lambert, told Anglin when Lambert arrived at the residence she had asked him to buy her a new phone because he had previously broken hers.

That is when the victim said Lambert became “extremely irate” before grabbing her and shoving her to the ground.  He then allegedly grabbed a large, heavy lamp post and claimed, “if he could almost kill two people he could kill her,” before attempting to swing the lamp towards her head.  The lamp hit a shelf instead, causing it to break.

According to Anglin’s report, the victim said Lambert then picked up her small dog and began holding it in the air in front of her while choking it.

The incident came to an end when a friend came over and knocked on the door, the complaint said.

According to the complaint, the victim said she had dialed 911 during the altercation and left the line open for dispatchers to hear what was happening.  Officers also saw marks on the woman that were consistent with her story.

It is unclear what Lambert might have been referring to in his claim to the victim about almost killing two people. Anglin was unavailable Thursday for comment on any previous incidents involving Lambert known to police.

Lambert is charged with one felony count for unlawful assault and one felony count of cruelty to animals.  He was arraigned Wednesday in Preston County Magistrate Court and is currently being held at Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $100,000 bond.

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