Police: Assault charges dropped after victim refuses to testify

Charges of simple assault and harassment against Stephen Murphy Shope were withdrawn Thursday after his wife declined to testify against him in a domestic disturbance case.

City police withdrew the charges during proceedings before District Judge Allen P. Page III.

Shope, the 43-year-old executive director of Project Bald Eagle, was arrested Saturday afternoon following a disturbance at the couple’s home at 608 Hawthorne Ave.

During an argument, Shope was attempting to leave the house with the couple’s daughter when his wife, Ashton, stepped in front of him, demanding to know where he was taking the child, police said in an affidavit.

“Shope grabbed Ashton by the throat and pushed her to the ground, where she struck her head,” Cpl. Eric Derr alleged in an affidavit.

Following the incident, Shope took a leave of absence from his job.