140806_ET_HAND_NOISE_001

COURTESY PHOTOBarbara Abernathy, 46, of Methuen, was convicted of criminally harassing and disturbing her neighbors by repeatedly stomping her feet, dropping large objects on the floor, slamming doors and more.

METHUEN — A Methuen woman was convicted this week of criminally harassing and disturbing her condo neighbors by repeatedly stomping her feet, dropping large objects on the floor, slamming doors and more.

Barbara Abernathy, 46, of 23 Hampshire Road, was found guilty by a jury Monday of eight counts of disturbing the peace, six counts of violating a harassment prevention order, two counts of criminal harassment and a single count of filing a false police report.

Abernathy, who lives in the Spicket Commons luxury condo complex, is scheduled for sentencing Friday. She is now being held at MCI Framingham following her conviction Monday on 17 of 19 criminal charges.

She was acquitted on two counts of witness intimidation.

Abernathy had faced 28 criminal counts in the noise disturbance and harassment case, which dates back to Sept. 8, 2012. Prior to trial, Judge Michael Uhlarik told Abernathy she faced 27 1/2 years in jail if convicted of the 28 criminal counts.

The Spicket Commons condo complex is located off Broadway near the Salem, N.H., line. Abernathy purchased her two-bedroom condo on May 31, 2012, for $151,000, according to city assessing records.

Four months later, Abernathy's downstairs and next-door neighbors were calling police after Abernathy stomped on the floor, made loud banging noises and repeatedly slammed doors "in an intentional manner," according to court papers.

Neighbors said the noise often went on for hours at a time, annoying them and preventing them from sleeping.

Complaints followed for more than a year, resulting in dozens of police visits to the condo complex, a lengthy criminal investigation and harassment restraining orders being placed on Abernathy. Police officers also heard Abernathy's noise first-hand, according to court records.

On Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, after receiving a complaint from a downstairs neighbor, Sgt. Tod Himmer was dropped off in plain clothes at the condo complex. After spending some time in the downstairs apartment, Himmer said he "could hear Ms. Abernathy stomping her feet, nonstop from 11:06 p.m. to 11:10 p.m. At 11:10 p.m., Sgt. Himmer heard an extremely loud bang that shook the ceiling of the unit," according to court records.

Several minutes later, Himmer said Abernathy started to "open and slam close" her porch door. "Repeated stomping kept coming from the kitchen area along with the cabinet doors slamming closed," Himmer said. Abernathy was subsequently arrested that night.

At trial, Abernathy's downstairs and next-door neighbors both testified. Sgt. James Gunter and eight patrol officers also were put on the stand, according to court records.

"We put a significant amount of manpower into this," said Police Chief Joseph Solomon, noting the ongoing noise problem "really affected people's ability to live."

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Timothy Prather. Abernathy's defense attorney, Andrew Stockwell-Alpert of Boston, could not be reached for comment for this story.

At least one of the neighbors is expected to give an impact statement at sentencing, according to police.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

Recommended for you