Slate Belt man breaks wife’s ribs, tries to claim he was attacked

Pennsylvania State Police said a Slate Belt man accused of breaking his wife’s ribs and lacerating her liver tried telling a trooper that he was the one who was attacked.

James A. Hammerstone faces aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment charges in connection with the alleged attack Tuesday evening at the couple’s Upper Mount Bethel Township home. District Judge Alicia Zito arraigned the 50-year-old early Wednesday morning, setting bail at $25,000 with a 10 percent cash option.

State police with the Belfast barracks were dispatched to a Sandy Shore Drive home about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday to investigate a domestic dispute. Hammerstone allegedly told authorities that his wife hit him. Hammerstone told a trooper that he didn’t want her arrested, but wanted a record to prevent her from making accusations, according to court records.

He allegedly told police that his wife accused him of infidelity, started swinging and left the house, according to records.

The same trooper was called to St. Luke’s Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township about four hours later for an assault victim. The woman alleged that her husband, Hammerstone, beat her up.

Hammerstone reportedly accused his wife of cheating and hit her in the ribs when she turned away. The victim fell onto a wood pile, and he grabbed her by the arm as she tried to catch her breath.

The woman pleaded with a nephew to call police, prompting Hammerstone to order him upstairs and tell no one about what happened, according to court records.

She managed to escape to her son’s home.

The trooper observed scratch marks on her forearm, a hand print on her bicep and a large lump on her elbow. Medical records show she suffered two fractured ribs and a lacerated liver.

Hammerstone was sent to Northampton County Prison after failing to post bail. His next court date is a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for Feb. 13.


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