NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A Struthers man was ordered to stand trial on a charge of terroristic threats after an apparent joke backfired.
Perry S. Ricciardi, 22, who is in the Lawrence County Jail awaiting trial on homicide charges in another matter, appeared Friday before District Justice Melissa Amodie for a preliminary hearing on the terroristic threats charge.
Police filed the charge earlier this month after jail employees discovered a notation on a letter addressed to his attorney Dennis A. Elisco that said if anyone other than Elisco opened the letter they would be infected with anthrax.
Elisco, who represented Ricciardi at Friday's hearing, told the judge that it was clearly a joke and asked that the charge be dismissed.
Police Officer David Viggiano testified, however, that he was concerned that the letter would be perceived as an anthrax scare if it got into the general mail. Viggiano said he did not believe there was anthrax inside the envelope and opened it without taking any precautions.
Amodie said she was holding Ricciardi for trial on the charge because he had to be accountable for his actions. Ricciardi is in jail without bond while awaiting trial in the October 2000 stabbing death of Shannon Leigh Kos, 12, of Youngstown.