Convicted felon caught “lurking” around local judge’s home arrested
A convicted felon who's on probation for narcotics possession was arrested on criminal trespass charges Friday after he was caught “lurking” around the home of a Waco judge, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office officials said.
Mark Chernoff, 33, was in the McLennan County Jail Friday evening charged with criminal trespass and with possession of a controlled substance stemming from a 2014 raid in Woodway for which he was sentenced to five years’ probation in January 2016.
His bonds total $800,000; $400,000 for the criminal trespass charge, and $400,000 for a prior drug possession charge.
Authorities would not name the judge for safety reasons, but McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said someone called the office after they saw Chernoff in the backyard of the judge’s home, walking around the house and looking into windows.
Chernoff’s cousin, Lee Chernoff, has a criminal case pending in this judge’s court, and McNamara doesn’t believe it was a coincidence he was spotted at his home.
The witness took photos of Chernoff’s vehicle and deputies were able to pull it over on Lake Shore Drive in less than an hour.
Although Chernoff was found unarmed, McNamara said deputies took the arrest very seriously because a judge’s safety was at stake.
"When you have someone who is on bond for narcotics and they're in the judge's backyard...raises a lot of red flags and so we're going to deal with that as quickly as we possibly can to try to keep something bad from happening,” he said.
“We're just not going to allow that."