Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Arizona Woman Charged with Stalking & Cyber Harassment of Hammonton Woman and Son; Extradited to NJ

MAYS LANDING – A 48-year-old woman was extradited from Arizona to New Jersey last week and arraigned yesterday in Superior Court for a 2015 indictment for the Stalking and Cyber Harassment of a Hammonton woman and her juvenile son, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton announced.
An investigation by the City of Hammonton Police Department led to charges against Christine Merlo-Kline, of the 6000 block of E. Knowles Way, Cave Creek, Arizona, issued by police on four separate occasions: November 5, 2014, December 17, 2014, May 5, 2015, and August 3, 2015.
On each date, Merlo-Kline was charged with Stalking and Cyber Harassment, the alleged crimes taking place “purposely and repeatedly” for nearly 3 years, between 2012 and 2015. 

The complaints allege that Merlo-Kline used “social media and other computer devices to monitor and harass repeatedly” Theresa Macri, of Hammonton, NJ, and her juvenile son.
On September 16, 2015, an Atlantic County Grand Jury indicted Merlo-Kline on one count of Stalking—a 4th degree crime, for “purposely and knowingly [engaging] in a course of conduct directed at Theresa Macri that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her safety or the safety of a third person or suffer emotional distress.” The Grand Jury also indicted Merlo-Kline for Cyber Harassment—a 4th degree crime, for “while making a communication in an online capacity via any electronic device or through a social networking site with the purpose to harass another, did knowingly send, post, comment, request, suggest, or propose ...lewd, indecent, or obscene material... with purpose to emotionally harm a reasonable person or place a reasonable person in fear of physical or emotional harm.”
A Warrant on Indictment was issued the same day by the Atlantic County Superior Court, setting bail on Merlo-Kline at $15,000 cash or bond.
On September 16, 2016, Merlo-Kline was located and arrested in Maricopa County, Arizona, on the charges.
On December 29, 2016, at the conclusion of extradition proceedings, Merlo-Kline was extradited to New Jersey on a Governor’s Warrant applied for by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. Atlantic County Sheriff’s Officers transported Merlo-Kline to New Jersey and lodged her in the Atlantic County Justice Facility.
Yesterday morning, January 3, 2017, Merlo-Kline was arraigned post-indictment before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Wild.
Judge Wild set bail on Merlo-Kline at $2500.00 cash or bond, and further ordered that, if released on bail, Merlo-Kline is not permitted to leave New Jersey, is prohibited from the use of computers and posting on any social media sites, and is prohibited to have any contact with the victims.
Judge Wild set the next court date to be February 14, 2017.
Atlantic County Assistant Prosecutor Harlee Stein represents the State in the matter.
A conviction for a 4th degree crime carries a potential penalty of up to 18 months of imprisonment in New Jersey State Prison.

Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.


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