Woman arrested in tampering; Police: Assault suspect, wife asked witness to change story

This story was published on March 23, 2006 on Page B3 in all editions of the Bangor Daily News

ELLSWORTH – A Trenton woman was arrested Monday afternoon for her part in a scheme to help her jailed husband contact the man he allegedly assaulted last summer, according to authorities.Sandra Lanpher, 31, was arrested in the parking lot of a Bar Harbor business as she reportedly attempted to meet with the man her husband, Alfred Lanpher, 37, allegedly assaulted and robbed in July at a convenience store in the town of Mount Desert.

“Both Sandra and Alfred tried to talk the victim into changing his story,” Officer Chris Smith of the Mount Desert Police Department said. “There’s been no threatening. Just politely asking him to change his story.”

Alfred Lanpher is accused of stealing a small amount of money from the victim and then taking part in his assault, along with another alleged perpetrator, Christopher Sullivan, 22, of Holden. The two allegedly punched and kicked the victim repeatedly, leaving him with fractured ribs and other injuries. A second victim had lesser injuries. Both men went to Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor, where they were treated and then released.

Lanpher and Sullivan left the convenience store in separate vehicles and were apprehended by police at a residence in Ellsworth. Both men were arrested and charged with aggravated assault. A robbery charge was added later.

The initial contact between the Trenton couple and the victim happened two weeks ago during a phone call from Sandra Lanpher to the victim, Smith said. A trio of phone calls after that were three-way conversations among Sandra Lanpher, the victim, and Alfred Lanpher – who was locked in Hancock County Jail.

“According to jail staff, this doesn’t occur on a regular basis,” Smith said. “If they’re arrested and in jail they don’t usually make contact with victims of a previous crime.”

Lanpher is in jail awaiting trial for the July assault, which is scheduled for April. He had been free on bail until he was arrested two months ago for another assault, the officer said. After that incident his bail was revoked.

His bail conditions included having no contact with the victim.

After Monday’s arrest, both husband and wife were charged with tampering with a victim, which is a Class B felony. Sandra Lanpher also was charged with unlawful possession of an unidentified narcotic and taken to Penobscot County Jail, where she remained Wednesday evening. Alfred Lanpher remains at the Hancock County Jail, officials said.

Bar Harbor and Mount Desert police departments combined forces to make the arrest, Smith said.