There are certain signature seasonal crimes and the alleged crimes of Karen Elaine Harrelson, 52, in Red Lion, Pa would certainly qualify. Harrelson is accused of assaulting Kayla Renne Still with the family Christmas tree. In light of our recent discussion of the trend of prosecutors to tack on terrorism charges, this appears another such case.
Pennsylvania State Police were called to the home at 3:03 p.m. on Sunday for a domestic disturbance. A fight erupted between Harrelson and Still over Harrelson lighting a cigarette inside of the house because her cousin was seven months pregnant. Harrelson was outraged by the demand that she smoke outside and allegedly started verbally abusing Still and then “picked up her grandmother’s Christmas tree and approached her in an aggressive manner and threw the tree at her and that’s when they fell onto the couch.”
Harrelson has a rather bizarre history. In 2013, she pleaded guilty in an incident where she and Gregory Stambaugh stabbed each other during an argument about who should win “American Idol.” The mugshot above was Harrelson’s mugshot from the American Idol arrest.
Harrelson is charged with two counts of simple assault and one count of terroristic threats. Once again, the use of “terroristic” charges raises a question of whether this term is losing its meaning in the law to cover conventional threats of violence. Notably, however, the Christmas tree was not declared a “lethal weapon”