peddler sentenced to state prison
Edward Lewis - Times Leader
man arrested by police in Nanticoke and Wilkes-Barre for selling heroin was sentenced
in Luzerne County Court to state prison.
Judge David Lupas sentenced Dwayne
Myers, 36, of North Meade Street, Wilkes-Barre, and Apollo Circle, Nanticoke,
was sentenced to 2.2 years to 4.5 years in state prison on two counts of possession
with intent to deliver a controlled substance and one count each of possession
of a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy
and criminal mischief.
According to the criminal complaints:
2014: Nanticoke police and the Luzerne County Drug Task Force had Myers under
investigation for heroin sales from an apartment in Apollo Circle. A search warrant
was served at the apartment on March 14 when police found Myers behind a locked
bathroom door. Myers told an officer he was sitting on the toilet as the officer
heard the slide of a handgun being pulled.
Police said Myers flushed the toilet
allegedly dumping heroin in the bowl. A clear bag with white residue and rubber
bands were found on the toilet and floor.
March 8: Myers threw a baby
stroller that struck another man in the head during a fight involving several
people in front of his Apollo Circle apartment.
Feb. 19: Wilkes-Barre
police investigating drug sales at a hotel on Kidder Street said Myers discard
a purse out a window when officers knocked on the door. Police said 26 heroin
packets were in the purse.
Dec. 4, 2013: Wilkes-Barre police served
a search warrant at a residence on North Meade Street where Myers was found with
Oct. 12, 2013: Wilkes-Barre police investigating a report that
a teenage girl was being held against her will found Myers with heroin in his
pockets inside a residence on Sambourne Street.
sex offender captured in Arizona
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
man wanted by Nanticoke police for sexually assaulting a minor has been captured
and arrested in Arizona.
Olman Solano, 39, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals
on Tuesday at a hotel near Phoenix, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
police this month charged Solano with two counts of involuntary deviate sexual
intercourse, corruption of minors and two counts of indecent assault of a person
less than 16 years of age.
The Nanticoke Police Department requested the assistance
of the Scranton office of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force to locate
and arrest Solano. The task force contacted marshals in Arizona after coming across
information that Solano might be in that area, authorities said.
him over to local authorities in Arizona, where he awaits court proceedings concerning
his extradition back to Pennsylvania.
Woman trashed Nanticoke home after ex broke up, wouldnt buy her a ring
- (570) 991-6116
City police arrested April Lee May,
36, of East Union Street, Nanticoke, on charges she assaulted her ex-boyfriend
and his mother during a domestic dispute on Tuesday.
May was charged with simple
assault and harassment. She was arraigned by District Judge Diana Malast in Plains
Township and released on $1,000 unsecured bail.
According to the criminal complaint:
Lewis told police he was at the American Legion with his mother, Nancy Long, and
May. Lewis and May left the American Legion to go to Norkys Bar but first
stopped at Lewis residence where they argued about May not receiving a ring
as a Christmas present.
Lewis told May he wasnt going to buy her a $1,300
ring as their relationship was over. Lewis told May to gather her belongings from
May left and went to Norkys Bar while Lewis returned to the
Lewis told police he arrived him with his mother to find May
sitting on the rear porch. He entered his residence finding it had been thrashed
with a Christmas tree and Santa knocked over, and a broken ceiling fan, the complaint
May became irate and grabbed the hair of Long who, in return, grabbed
call leads to meth lab bust in Nanticoke
Nanticoke woman who called 911 to report she had overdosed on drugs was first
rescued, then arrested on Saturday.
Nanticoke police gave the following account,
in a criminal complaint:
Cheryl Kemper, 31, called emergency dispatchers at
about 1:30 p.m. and said she had taken too much meth, had a chemical
burn on her arm and a blood clot moving in her arm. She also said her 13-year-old
son was in the home and was experiencing shortness of breath.
When police arrived
at the home, at 248 Apollo Circle, they smelled a strong chemical odor, located
Kemper and her son and evacuated them from the building.
the home, looking for anyone else who might be injured. They did not find anyone
there, but in Kempers bedroom, in plain view, they observed items that police
say are often used for the manufacturing of methamphetamine, such as funnels with
white residue, a measuring cup, hypodermic needle caps, filter material and a
garbage bag that held a two-liter soda bottle.
Kemper and her son were taken
to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center for treatment and observation. Luzerne
County Children and Youth Services was notified regarding the welfare of the boy.
told police that she had been part of a group with four other people, all of whom
fled the home on Saturday. She purchased pseudoephedrine for one of the men in
the group to use to cook methamphetamine and allowed him to use her home for the
process. In exchange, he gave her meth for her own use, she said.
two children, ages 12 and 8 at the time, were present during two previous drug
manufacturing sessions, according to the criminal complaint.
Kemper was charged
with possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a
controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, endangering the welfare of a child,
possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of precursor chemicals with intent
to manufacture a controlled substance and unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine
in a structure where a child under 18 is present.
She was arraigned before
Magisterial District Judge James Dixon on Saturday and sent to Luzerne County
Correctional Facility in lieu of bail.
Newport Township and Kingston police,
the Luzerne County Drug Task Force and the Nanticoke Fire Department and EMS assisted.
continue to investigate. Anyone with information is asked to call Nanticoke police
at 570-735-2200 or dial 911.
call leads police to suspected meth lab in Nanticoke
say a woman calling 911 to report shed overdosed on drugs Saturday led officers
to a suspected meth lab in her Apollo Circle apartment.
Cheryl Lee Kemper,
31, of Nanticoke, told Luzerne County 911 Saturday afternoon she had taken too
much meth, had a chemical burn on her arm, could see a blood clot
moving in her arm and her 13-year-old son was experiencing shortness of breath,
according to a criminal complaint.
Responding officers immediately noticed
an odor of chemicals upon entering the residence, police say, and so removed both
Kemper and her son from the apartment.
Police say the odor, which could be
smelled from a considerable distance, was characteristic of the process
of manufacturing methamphetamine, causing irritation of the eyes, skin and throat.
In Kempers bedroom, the complaint says, police located two funnels with
white residue, a measuring cup with residue, hypodermic needle caps, filter material
and a 2-liter bottle containing white solids and other moist materials.
police Clandestine Laboratory Response Team removed these materials from the apartment
along with Coleman fuel, pseudoephedrine and other bi-products and precursor materials
for methamphetamine, police say.
When questioned, Kemper allegedly told police
she allowed her friend to cook meth in her apartment and also purchased some of
the necessary materials in exchange for quantities of the finished product.
and her son were both transported to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
Luzerne County Children and Youth Services were contacted and responded to the
According to the complaint, Kemper said at least three other people
and her two children were present during the manufacturing process.
says Kemper was charged with possession of precursor chemicals with intent to
manufacture a controlled substance, manufacture of methamphetamine in a structure
with a child under 18 present, five counts of conspiracy, one count of possession
of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a single
count of possession with intent to deliver and one count of endangering the welfare
Court records indicate she was scheduled for arraignment at 8:30
p.m. before District Judge James M. Dixon, and was held at Luzerne County Correctional
Facility for lack of $75,000 bail.
man arrested for shooting in Wilkes-Barre
Nanticoke man was arraigned Thursday on charges he shot a woman in the head near
Gordon Avenue in South Wilkes-Barre last week.
Michael Angelo Foschini Jr,
25, of West Main Street, was charged with two counts each of aggravated assault
and simple assault, and one count each of possession of marijuana and reckless
endangerment. He was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke
and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $250,000 bail.
was arrested by city police and Nanticoke police when he began driving away from
his residence at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Police believe the woman, a 19-year-old,
was shot in the head with a .22-caliber rifle. She survived her injuries.
to the criminal complaint:
The woman told police Foschini picked her up in
the area of Academy Street and Carey Avenue and drove to the end of Willow Street,
near an abandoned building and Gordon Avenue.
She claimed they were arguing
about money Foschini felt she owed him.
Foschini told the women to get out
of his vehicle and became more angry because she was taking too long, the complaint
The woman claimed Foschini went to the trunk area of his car and emerged
with a long black gun she described as a rifle. She stood outside the car claiming
Foschini told her he wasnt going to hurt her and the rifle was a pellet
gun, according to the complaint.
Police said in the complaint Foschini shot
the woman in the head and drove away.
The woman attempted to go into the abandoned
building and made her way to a residence on Academy Street. She was transported
to Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre and then Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center
where she underwent surgery, police said.
Police said they recovered evidence
near the abandoned building and the area where the woman was shot.
hearing is scheduled on Dec. 23 before District Judge Rick Cronauer in Wilkes-Barre.|
who has information about the shooting is asked to call Wilkes-Barre police detectives
Nanticoke woman allegedly beat mother bloody
city woman has been charged in connection with an attack on her mother, police
Officers responded to the area of Lee Mine and South Hanover streets
at about 10:18 p.m. Sunday for a report of a woman screaming, yelling and saying
she fell out of a vehicle. The female caller was belligerent to the
Luzerne County 911 dispatcher, saying, youll figure it out,
according to court papers.
Police found Kimberly Wojciechowski, age not released,
in the area of East Union and South Market streets running toward West Ridge Street.
She was out of breath, had blood on her face, hands and clothing and told police
she was beat up by her daughter, court papers state.
Nanticoke EMS was dispatched,
but Wojciechowski refused treatment. At first, she would only tell police she
did not want her daughter to go to jail, but then related that she had been away
for a few days and, when she returned home, her daughter became enraged and began
hitting her in the face.
Police said Wojciechowski was unsteady on her feet,
had bloodshot eyes and exhibited signs of drunkenness and was transported to the
Police then interviewed Wojciechowskis daughter, Kailey
Wojciechowski, who told them her mother had not been home for several days and
that she was concerned about her. She told police she then saw her mother on Lee
Mine Street in a pickup with a bunch of males, that the vehicle pulled away and
her mother fell out.
Police said they observed fresh blood stains on Kailey
Wojciechowskis sweatshirt and jeans and asked where they came from. She
allegedly responded that they came from her mother.
Police said Kimberly Wojciechowskis
injuries were not consistent with falling out of a vehicle and arrested Kailey
Wojciechowski pursuant to probable cause arrest in domestic violence cases.
Wojciechowski, 19, of West Washington Street, Nanticoke, was charged with simple
assault, harassment and disorderly conduct She was arraigned before District Judge
Joseph Carmody and released on $5,000 unsecured bail. Her preliminary hearing
is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Jan. 7 before District Judge Donald Whitaker in Nanticoke.
pharmacy robbed at gunpoint Friday
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
armed man robbed a pharmacy in Nanticoke on Friday morning, according to police.
robbery happened shortly after 9 a.m. at Spotanskis Pharmacy, 243 S. Prospect
St., according to Nanticoke police.
A man walked into the store armed with
a handgun and demanded the prescription drugs Suboxone and Xanax, as well as cash
from the register, police said.
The suspect ran out of the store and was last
seen fleeing east on East Green Street, according to police.
He is described
as a male of average build, about 6 feet tall, wearing a black pullover sweater
with big white letters that spell out SOUTH POLE. He also wore blue jogging pants
with white stripes down the sides, black gloves and his face was covered with
a hood and mask. The weapon used in the robbery was a black or blue pistol, police
Anyone with information about this robbery is asked to call Nanticoke
police at 570-735-2200 or dial 911.
man who fled crash scene facing charges
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
Township police plan to charge a Nanticoke man who they say fled the scene of
a two-vehicle accident Thursday night.
The accident happened at about 9 p.m.
on Hanover Street, near Front Street. A vehicle driven by Eric Legins, 28, of
Nanticoke, collided with another vehicle, according to police. The driver of the
other vehicle was taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center for treatment
of injuries from the accident. Legins fled the scene of the crash and was later
located at his home, police said.
Legins drivers license is suspended
because of a DUI, according to police, who said charges against Legins are pending
The police news release did not list the name or gender
of the injured driver, or give details of the drivers injuries or medical
condition. Calls to Hanover Township police seeking further information on Friday
were not returned by press time. Hanover Street was closed in both directions
after the accident and the media was not allowed access to the accident scene
County judge revokes parole, sends Nanticoke man to jail
man accused of leading police on a pursuit that ended in a three-car crash last
month is back in prison on a 2012 charge of eluding arrest.
Johnson, 52, of Nanticoke, had his parole revoked Friday in a hearing before Luzerne
County Judge Lesa S. Gelb.
He will now serve the remainder of a six-to-12 month
sentence for eluding police who were seeking him on a protection-from-abuse order
violation in June of 2012.
Johnson was released from prison on May 28 after
serving the required six month minimum.
Hanover Township police arrested Johnson
on Nov. 7 when police say Johnson, who was driving a Dodge Nitro, led them on
a pursuit through Wilkes-Barre after they attempted to stop him.
ended near the intersection of River and Market streets where Johnson crashed
into a Hyundai Elantra and a Toyota Corolla, police say. Two people were treated
for injuries from the crash at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
faces charges of theft, receiving stolen property, fleeing or attempting to elude
police, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, careless driving and two counts
of accidents involving injury in the alleged pursuit.
Ashley police also have
filed charges of robbery and criminal conspiracy against Johnson, alleging he
assaulted an elderly woman and stole her purse on Oct. 25, before fleeing in a
stolen Ford Escape.
Wyoming police say Johnson stole the Ford from a used car
dealership on Wyoming Avenue the day before, allegedly taking it for a test drive
and never returning.
Court documents indicate Johnson is awaiting a preliminary
hearing on theft, criminal mischief and driving with a suspended or revoked license
charges out of Wyoming.
Plains Township police allege Johnson, along with Marshall
Dyer III, 47, of Edwardsville, robbed the Plains Meat Market on Hudson Street
on Oct. 21.
Dyer was later arrested on Maffet Street and arraigned on criminal
Township police charged Johnson with robbery following
his arrest in November.
Police officers from Hanover Township, Ashley, Wyoming
and Plains Township appeared Friday in court to offer testimony against Johnson,
but were never afforded the opportunity.
Court documents indicate a warrant
for Johnsons arrest was issued in late September after he failed to appear
for a hearing on arson charges stemming from a 2013 vehicle fire in Nanticoke.
is scheduled to go to trial next week on chop shop charges.
doomed himself with 911 call, police say
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke man who police say committed a string of burglaries in Luzerne County
in August was arraigned and sent to jail on Tuesday.
State police investigated
multiple similar residential burglaries between Aug. 5 and Aug. 25, according
to a criminal complaint against Daniel Olshefski, 26, of 11 Burnett St., Nanticoke.
Seven burglaries in three weeks were reported in Plymouth Township, Plymouth Borough,
Union Township and Nanticoke, police said.
In a strange twist, Olshefski set
into motion the wheels of his own arrest when he called 911 to report that he
saw a man fleeing the scene of one of the burglaries, apparently to divert suspicion,
according to the criminal complaint.
Olshefski gave his name to an emergency
operator who took his 911 call, and a police investigation revealed that he had
been pulled over for erratic driving in Larksville on Aug. 14, police said. From
there, the investigation revealed that Olshefski was under suspicion of committing
a burglary in Exeter, in which a check stolen from a home was cashed in his name,
according to the criminal complaint.
Olshefski, when interviewed by police
in the presence of a public defender, eventually admitted to committing the burglaries
and gave details of the crimes that only the perpetrator was likely to know, police
said. He also pointed police to the location of stolen jewelry that he tossed
over a guard rail of Interstate 81, police said. Officers found the jewelry in
the spot where Olshefski said he tossed it, according to police.
is charged with multiple felony counts of burglary and theft by unlawful taking
and summary counts of criminal mischief. He was arraigned on Tuesday before Magisterial
District Judge Donald Whittaker and sent to Luzerne County Correctional Facility
in lieu of bail.
A preliminary hearing before Whittaker is scheduled for 1
p.m. on Dec. 17.
residents alerted to phone scam
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
police warned city residents of a possible phone scam in which callers falsely
claim to be part of the Nanticoke Fire Department.
Police have received complaints
from residents who said someone has been calling them at home, claiming to be
from the Nanticoke Fire Department and offering to clean the chimney. The callers
are persistent and rude, residents told police.
The Nanticoke Fire Department
does not call residents and solicit them to have their chimneys cleaned, police
said. Anyone who receives a call should dial 911 to report the incident, according
West Nanticoke man pleads
guilty to vehicular homicide
A West Nanticoke
man pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide charges on Tuesday morning in Luzerne
County Court and was immediately sentenced to a minimum of three years in state
John D. Ward, 23, pleaded guilty to a charge of homicide by vehicle
while driving under the influence in connection with a fatal crash last year on
the Sans Souci Parkway in Hanover Township.
Luzerne County Judge Lesa Gelb
sentenced him to three to six years in state prison.
Hanover Township police
allege Ward rear-ended the vehicle of 68-year-old Nanticoke resident Daniel Markowski
on April 10, 2013, causing Markowski to be ejected from his vehicle as it rolled
over. Markowski died the next day in the hospital.
He certainly acknowledged
his responsibility from the time that it happened, Wards attorney
Vito Deluca said afterward. He has a great degree of remorse.
say Ward had been drinking 24-ounce cans of beer and smoking marijuana and was
racing against a motorcycle at speeds nearing 80 mph before the crash.
girl who was in Wards vehicle also sustained minor injuries, police said.
County Deputy District Attorney Chester Dudick said the plea agreement was acceptable
to Markowskis family.
These cases are difficult because they are
not intentional homicides, but we understand how devastating they are to the victims
family, Dudick said. They would have preferred not to be in this situation
at all, but they were satisfied with the outcome.
Man sexually assaulted 6-year-old
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke man was hit with numerous felony charges for sexually assaulting a 6
-year-old girl for about the last two years, according to an arrest affidavit.
S. Montanez, 28, of 209 W. Church St., was charged Monday with two counts of involuntary
deviate sexual intercourse with a child, two counts of aggravated indecent assault
of a child, two counts of indecent assault of a person of less than 13 years-old
and related charges.
The mother of the victim called Nanticoke police July
5 saying her daughter had told her Montanez sexually assaulted her.
interviewed the victim on July 9. Police said the girl knew the difference between
the truth and a lie. Police asked the girl how high she could count. She said
to 100. Police then asked her how many times the assaults happened, and she sighed
and said in a defeated voice Montanez assaulted her a lot,
detailing to authorities what Montanez allegedly had done to her.
remains free on $100,000 unsecured bail set by Magisterial District Judge Donald
Whittaker. His preliminary hearing is slated for 1 p.m. Dec. 3 before Whittaker.
man waives hearing on purse robbery, pursuit charges
Nanticoke man accused of stealing a purse from an elderly woman in Ashley and
initiating a pursuit with police in Hanover Township and Wilkes-Barre that ended
in a crash waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge Joseph
Halesey Tuesday morning.
Douglas Johnson, 52, kept quiet when asked by a reporter
if he wanted to apologize to the two people injured in a three vehicle crash at
River and Market streets, Wilkes-Barre, on Nov. 7.
Johnson was sent back to
the Luzerne County Correctional Facility where he remains jailed for lack of $265,000
total bail on four criminal cases in four municipalities.
Here are the charges
facing Johnson, according to the criminal complaints:
Oct. 21: Plains Township
police charged Johnson and Marshall Dyer III, 47, of Edwardsville, with robbing
Plains Meat Market on Hudson Road.
Oct. 24: Wyoming police charged Johnson
with stealing a Ford Escape from City Auto, a used car lot on Wyoming Avenue.
Johnson took the Ford for a test drive and failed to return the vehicle.
25: Ashley police alleged Johnson, a passenger in the stolen Ford, approached
an elderly woman in a parking lot in the 100 block of North Main Street. Johnson
proceeded to assault her by pushing her in her car and striking her and
slamming her body against the car seat, the complaint says.
with the woman before running away with her purse. The driver of the Ford picked
up Johnson on Brown Street.
Nov. 7: Hanover Township police attempted to stop
Johnson driving a Dodge Nitro. Johnson initiated a pursuit into Wilkes-Barre crashing
into a Hyundai Elantra and a Toyota Corolla at River and Market streets. Two people
in the Hyundai and Toyota were injured and treated at Geisinger Wyoming Valley
At Tuesdays proceeding before Halesey, Johnson waived
his right to preliminary hearings.
Charges of robbery and criminal conspiracy
filed by Ashley police, and charges of theft, receiving stolen property, fleeing
or attempting to elude police, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, careless
driving and two counts of accidents involving injury filed by Hanover Township
police were sent to court.
Preliminary hearings on the charges filed by police
in Wyoming and Plains Township are scheduled at a later date.
arrested in methamphetamine bust
agents with the state Office of Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigation
and Nanticoke police arrested four people on charges they were cooking methamphetamine
inside a residence on Lewis Road.
Authorities said they served a search warrant
at 17 Lewis Rd., allegedly finding sodium, lithium, ammonia nitrate, plastic tubing,
funnels, glassware, red phosphorous and pseudeophedrine. The search warrant was
obtained for the residence in an ongoing investigation of methamphetamine manufacturing
in the area, according to charges filed.
Carissa Marie Beck,
27, 17 Lewis Road, Hunlock Township, seven counts of possession with intent to
manufacture a controlled substance, and one count each of possession of a controlled
substance, criminal conspiracy with intent to manufacture a controlled substance
and risking catastrophe.
Kevin Lee Vernovage, 47, 17 Lewis Road, seven counts
of possession with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, and one count
each of possession of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy with intent
to manufacture a controlled substance and risking catastrophe.
48, 17 Lewis Road, two counts of possession with intent to manufacture a controlled
substance and a single count of criminal conspiracy with intent to manufacture
a controlled substance.
Barry Blazick, 50, 17 Lewis Road, two counts of possession
with intent to manufacture a controlled substance and a single count of criminal
conspiracy with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.
Beck and Vernovage
were arraigned by District Judge Michael Dotzel in Wilkes-Barre Township and jailed
at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $75,000 bail each.
Blazick and his brother, Barry Blazick, were jailed for lack of $50,000 bail each.
Blazick and Barry Blazick allegedly admitted to obtaining pseudeophedrine and
giving it to Vernovage in exchange for methamphetamine. Beck admitted to obtaining
the cold medication and crushing pills to cook methamphetamine, according to the
burglary suspect faces felony gun charge
Already awaiting trial for a Thanksgiving Day burglary
in Nanticoke, one of the accused was hit with a felony gun charge for a rifle
police said he stole during the break-in and hocked at a pawnshop.
Nanticoke police said Earl Hoopingarner, now 29, ransacked and looted the home
of Krystle Lampman at 201 Enterprise St., Nanticoke on Nov. 28, 2013 while Shane
Hempel, now 26, served as a lookout. Hempel admitted to his and Hoopingarners
roles following their arrests in December.
Janice Hempel, 23, also awaits trial
for her role in connection with the burglary for receiving stolen property. She
testified against her brother, Shane Hempel, and her boyfriend, Hoopingarner,
at her May 12 preliminary hearing, saying the two men came home the night of the
burglary with duffle bags of stolen goods.
Arrest papers indicated she cooperated
with police because she didnt want to sit in jail anymore for stuff
they did. In hopes of being released from the Luzerne County Correctional
Facility, Janice Hempel on Jan. 18 told investigators about a pawnshop in the
area where Hoopingarner sold a television, jewelry and a rifle that were stolen
from Lampmans home, and authorities were able to track down the gun.
she said prosecutors did not offer her anything in exchange for her testimony,
Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker modified her bail to $100,000 unsecured
at the end of the hearing and she was released from Luzerne County Correctional
The information Janice Hempel testified to led police to charge the
two men for theft, conspiracy to commit theft and two counts of receiving stolen
property. Hoopingarner was also charged in February with multiple counts of identity
theft for using Lampmans credit cards, which were stolen during the burglary.
authorities tacked on a felony charge of person not to possess or use firearms
for the rifle Hoopingarner allegedly stole and pawned. Hoopingarner had a video
arraignment before Whittaker on Friday from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility,
where Hoopingarner remains jailed on what is now $350,000 straight cash bail.
He has a second preliminary hearing for the gun charge slated for 1:15 p.m. Nov.
19 before Whittaker.
Whittaker bound 21 charges against Hoopingarner and 16
against Hempel over to the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas on May 28 following
two days of testimony at a joint preliminary hearing for the defendants.
defendants in the case await trial.
faces charges after fleeing police pursuit
Jacob Seibel - Citizens
Newport Township police were clocking speeders
in a 35 mph zone Oct. 29 on Roberts Street when a motorcycle zipped by doing 80
The driver, identified as 22-year-old Eddie Vega-Pagan, turned right on
Prince Street leading toward Nanticoke, then looked over his shoulder as police
flipped on their emergency lights and sounded the siren, police said.
was doing 100 mph now, weaving in and out of traffic and passing vehicles in oncoming
lanes, and police stopped their pursuit because Pagans recklessness could
have jeopardized public safety, police said.
Police were able to get the motorcycles
registration number, which came back to the owner of Kus New and Used Tires in
Wilkes-Barre. Police learned that the owner had sold the motorcycle to one of
his employees. Police said the fleeing driver had the helmets face shield
up during the pursuit and the officer who saw the drivers face said the
employee didnt fit the suspects description. Arrest papers do not
indicate why someone else had the employees motorcycle.
police Chief Jeremy Blank was off duty at the tire shop Nov. 7 looking to get
tire for his personal vehicle when he saw the suspect and the motorcycle.
contacted police, who stopped Vega-Pagan in Nanticoke and took him into custody,
according to the affidavit. He told police the man operating the motorcycle was
buying the vehicle from him and that that man was taking the motorcycle for a
test drive. Police told him they thought he was lying, stopped the interview and
told him charges will be filed against him.
Vega-Pagan, of Wilkes-Barre, was
charged with a felony count of fleeing and seven summary traffic offenses. He
was jailed Wednesday at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, unable to post
$75,000 straight cash bail set by Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker.
Nanticoke man choked, kicked woman
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
woman is in critical condition after being choked and kicked during a violent
domestic dispute in Nanticoke on Sunday night, according to police.
identified the suspect as Charles D. Davis, 51, of Nanticoke.
a criminal complaint against Davis:
At about 7 p.m. on Sunday, Davis assaulted
a woman in his College Street home. He said he was upset with the woman for returning
home late from work. Both Davis and the woman had consumed alcohol.
escalated and Davis placed his hands around the womans throat, strangled
her, threw her to the ground and kicked her in the abdomen repeatedly. He then
left the home.
The woman called for help, using a neighbors phone. The
womans sister drove to the home, found the woman complaining of severe stomach
pain and drove her to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. She was transferred to Geisinger
Wyoming Valley Medical Center due to the extent of her injuries.
whose phone the victim used to call for help told police that he heard the woman
scream no Charles, no several times during the argument.
was in critical condition as of Tuesday, police said.
Davis was charged with
aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and harassment. He was
arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker on Monday and sent
to Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000 bail. A preliminary
hearing is scheduled for Nov. 19
Driver in chase involved in 2 robberies
mans crime spree that included two strong-arm robberies ended
when he crashed a stolen car in Wilkes-Barre after a police chase Friday, police
said.Douglas Johnson, 52, last known address 262 E. Noble St., Nanticoke, was
the driver of a Dodge Nitro that police chased through Hanover Township into Wilkes-Barre
on Friday, according to police.
The chase ended abruptly when Johnsons
car collided with two vehicles on River Street near the Market Street Bridge at
around 4:30 p.m. Johnson and two other occupants of the Dodge were taken into
custody at the scene of the crash.
Police said Fridays incident is still
being investigated and more charges are pending against Douglas for stealing the
motor vehicle and offenses related to the police chase.
Ashley police had issued
an arrest warrant for Johnson following a daylight robbery on Oct. 25 in which
a man assaulted an elderly woman and stole her purse as she was getting into her
car. Johnson drove the vehicle the purse-snatcher jumped into as he was being
chased by witnesses, police said.
The day before the purse robbery, Wyoming
Borough police said Douglas went to City Auto on Wyoming Avenue where he told
the owner he wanted to buy a vehicle. Douglas asked the owner to test drive a
2006 Ford Escape, but instead, he drove the vehicle out of the lot and never returned.
Police recovered the vehicle near Public Square in Wilkes-Barre.
set of arrest papers, police said Douglas was involved in an attempted armed robbery
at the Plains Meat Market in Plains Township late afternoon Oct. 21.
Township police responded to an attempted robbery call at the meat market at 4:50
p.m. The owner told police that two men attempted to rob the store; one of the
men held a boxcutter against the store owners side and demanded he open
the cash register, police said.
The owner yelled for
a store employee, after which the would-be robber who held the boxcutter fled
the store. Nothing was taken and the owner was not injured, police said.
arrested the other suspect Marshall Dyer III, 47, of Edwardsville. Dyer
told police Douglas was the robber and that he had met him that day, according
to the affidavit.
Douglas remains jailed at the Luzerne
County Correctional Facility facing numerous charges including robbery and theft.
Man committed series of robberies
Charlotte L. Jacobson - Citizens
Hanover Township Police Department arrested
a man after he committed acts of robbery, attempted robbery and theft, said police.
to police, Wayne Matthew Shoemaker, 25, entered a Sunoco convenience store on
the San Souci Parkway Sunday evening, grabbed a clerk and demanded money from
the cash register. He fled from the scene without any cash.
after, Shoemaker entered Penn Corners Food Mart, also on the San Souci Parkway,
and fled with a cash register according to the press release.
after midnight Monday, Shoemaker entered the Cocoa Hut on East Main Street in
Nanticoke and again fled the scene with a cash register containing $50, said Nanticoke
According to a press release, Shoemaker was
identified as a suspect by several tips and help from a local media outlet. He
was taken into custody at his residence without incident, according to Hanover
Shoemaker was charged with counts of
robbery, criminal attempt to commit robbery, theft and other related charges,
according to the criminal docket.
He was jailed at Luzerne
County Correctional Facility after being unable to post the $75,000 straight bail.
The preliminary hearing has been schedule for Nov. 18 before Magisterial District
Judge Joseph A. Halesey.
Man ties up girlfriend after disapproving of costume
Nanticoke man stripped his girlfriend naked and tied her up for hours because
he was upset over her Halloween costume, according to an affidavit.
was getting ready to go out Friday night, but plans fell through when 48-year-old
John Branwell Chapman became upset after seeing Jennifer OGallagher in her
French maid costume, police said.
According to the affidavit filed by Nanticoke
OGallagher told police her boyfriend was drinking vodka for about
two hours on Halloween when they got into an argument around 7 p.m. over the costume.
stripped OGallagher of her costume and bound her wrists and ankles. Chapman
was laughing and taking pictures of her while she was tied up and also choked
her and grabbed parts of her body.
When Chapman left their apartment of 118
S. Market St. around 11:30 p.m., OGallagher crawled to the kitchen and got
a knife to cut herself free. She then got dressed, locked the door and went to
Chapman returned several times, but OGallagher refused to let him
inside, telling him he was drunk and to go away.
OGallagher was lying
in bed around 3:30 a.m. Saturday when Chapman returned again and smashed the bedroom
window. She ran from the bedroom and hid in a closet, but Chapman found her, dragged
her from the hiding place and choked her.
Police were dispatched to the apartment
for a report of a woman screaming for help. Officers could hear OGallagher
crying and yelling for help when they arrived, and they knocked on the door several
times before Chapman answered.
Chapman told police his girlfriend was flipping
out and was trying to stop her. Police saw OGallagher lying on the
couch crying. She had welts around her neck and bruises on her arms.
God the police are here, she said.
Chapman was charged with two counts
of simple assault, two counts of harassment and unlawful restraint.
jailed Saturday at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, unable to post $20,000
straight cash bail set by Magisterial District Judge Michael Dotzel. His preliminary
hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 18 before Magisterial District Judge Donald
suspect arrested in Nanticoke meth lab blast
Eric Mark - Citizens
Police have arrested another suspect in
the explosion of a suspected meth lab in Nanticoke on Saturday night.
T. Longenberger, 27, was taken into custody on Tuesday, one day after Nanticoke
police issued a warrant for his arrest. He had serious burns to his hands, arm
and face, and was taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center for treatment,
Longenberger was charged with drug trafficking, causing a catastrophe,
making meth with a child present, criminal conspiracy and possessing meth precursor
He was arraigned Tuesday afternoon before Magisterial District Judge
Donald Whittaker and sent to Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000
cash bail, according to police.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m.
on Nov. 5.
Following his arraignment, Longenberger was taken into surgery for
his injuries, police said.
Another suspect in the case, Jessica M. Collett,
28, was arrested on Sunday. She faces the same charges as Longenberger.
said Collett and Longenberger were in an apartment at 112 Lee Mine St., Nanticoke,
with two others Kylsie Yashkus and Alicia Gulla when the suspected
meth lab exploded. All fled the scene before authorities arrived. The force of
the blast blew off one of the doors to the apartment.
Drunken man urinated, smashed bottles in alley
Charlotte L. Jacobson
- Citizens Voice
Authorities charged a man with
indecent exposure, propulsion of missiles onto a roadway, disorderly conduct and
public drunkenness on Saturday in Nanticoke.
The first report that Nanticoke
police received said that an intoxicated man was cursing and yelling on Orchard
Street. By the time the officers arrived to the scene, there was no one in the
general vicinity that matched the description, according to the affidavit.
police received a second report that the man, John Branwell Chapman, was allegedly
seen urinating and smashing bottles in an alley at the rear of Orchard Street,
as well as attempting to start a fight with a couple on the street, police said.
said when they reported to the scene, they found Chapman so intoxicated he could
Chapman was taken into custody and transported to Nanticoke police
headquarters for processing. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 12
before Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker.
man accused of assaulting son over beer
Charlotte L. Jacobson -
A Nanticoke resident was arrested
Saturday after he allegedly assaulted and injured his 15-year-old son in his home
on South Hanover Street, police said.
According to the affidavit, Nanticoke
police responded to a call from a neighbor, explaining that Thomas Joseph Andrejack
Jr. allegedly assaulted his son for drinking one of his beers.
they spoke with the son, who admitted to drinking one of the beers before going
to bed. Shortly after he went to bed, Andrejack entered his room and began beating
his head and body with an unknown blunt object, officers said. The son was able
to escape and take refuge at a neighbors house, where he discovered his head was
Andrejack claimed his son attacked him after being confronted about
drinking a beer, police said. Officers said they did not observe any injuries
Police charged Andrejack with simple assault, recklessly endangering
another person and harassment. He was released from Luzerne County Correctional
Facility on Tuesday after posting $5,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled
for Nov. 5 before Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker.
on house arrest for Nanticoke bar fight granted Halloween furlough
Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
A woman involved
in a fight that led to a notorious Nanticoke barroom slashing is getting a two-hour
furlough from her court-ordered house arrest on Friday so she could take her minor
son trick or treating for Halloween.Luzerne County Judge Michael Vough on Monday
granted a request filed by Melanie Figueroa, 23, of South Sherman Street, Wilkes-Barr
getting out of work on Friday, Figueroa will be allowed to take her son trick
or treating between 5 and 7 p.m., the judge ruled.
object to the request.
Figueroa was accused of being the primary aggressor
in a January 2012 fight that led to a woman being slashed in the face with a box
cutter at Prospect Street Cafe at 23 S. Prospect St., a bar that is now shuttered.
Figueroa was not charged with the slashing. She pleaded guilty to simple assault
for her role in the fight. She also pleaded guilty to underage drinking for consuming
alcohol in the bar before she was 21.
In September, Vough sentenced Figueroa
to six months house arrest and two years probation.
arrested in meth lab explosion
police have arrested one woman and say more charges are coming in connection with
a methamphetamine laboratory explosion that rocked an apartment complex over the
Police on Sunday charged Jessica M. Collett, 28, with drug trafficking,
causing catastrophe, making meth with a child present, criminal conspiracy and
possessing meth precursor chemicals.
Police say Collett was living in an apartment
at 112 Lee Mine St., Nanticoke, with three others Adam Longenberger, Kylsie
Yashkus and Alicia Gulla when a meth lab exploded inside the apartment
Saturday night. All fled the scene prior to police arrival.
called to the apartment about 9:50 p.m. after a neighbor reported the explosion
accompanied by an odor of gasoline, according to a police affidavit filed in court.
arrived to find smoke coming from the apartment, finding the front door had been
blown off the frame. Upon entering the apartment to check for injuries, police
found sodium, a funnel and a plastic bag containing lithium strips in the living
room, according to the affidavit.
An officer checking the apartment saw damage
from an explosion before being overwhelmed by the smell of kerosene, which irritated
his eyes and throat, police said. After ensuring the apartment was empty, the
officer left the apartment and police ordered the other units evacuated. Two children
live in the building, police said.
When police tracked down Gulla who
is the sole lessee of the apartment she signed consent for police to search
it, according to the affidavit. Police found items commonly used to make meth,
including pseudoephedrine, tubing, funnels, a digital scale, baggies and gas generators.
Officers also found finished meth, police said.
During questioning, Collett,
Yashkus and Gulla admitted to investigators they had been making meth in the apartment,
according to the affidavit. They told police Collett and Longenberger had been
actively cooking meth when the lab exploded Saturday night, police said.
on Sunday filed the charges against Collett, saying additional charges were pending.
District Judge Diana Malast arraigned Collett on Monday morning and ordered her
jailed on $150,000 bail. She was being held at the Luzerne County Correctional
Facility with a preliminary hearing set for 1 p.m. Nov. 5.
Drunk man called 911 for ride home
An intoxicated man made false reports to Luzerne County
911 to try to get a ride from police, but ended up with pepper spray in his eyes
and a ride to jail, according to police.
Richard J. Wright, 31, called 911
around 2:30 a.m. Sunday saying his car broke down, he was drunk and needed police
to give him a ride.
According to the affidavit filed by Nanticoke police:
were dispatched to Cocoa Hut convenience store on East Main Street a few minutes
later for a report that Wright was inside making a disturbance. Police said Wright
habitually calls 911 while he is drunk to try to get police to give him rides.
police arrived, Wright told officers he didnt want to walk and needed a
ride. Police told him if he keeps making false reports, they will arrest him.
luck with that, Wright told police. I dont have an address.
then told police he called his father and was waiting for him to pick him up to
go stay at his fathers residence in Nanticoke. Officers asked the store
clerk if Wright could wait there. The clerk agreed to let him, and police left.
3:15 a.m., Wright called 911 again asking for police to pick him up. He called
again a few minutes later saying he didnt want police, but wanted an ambulance
to come or else he would jump off the bridge near the Cocoa Hut.
and told him he was under arrest, at which time he began to struggle with police.
He continued to resist despite polices warning they were going to pepper
Just take me the (expletive) home, he told police.
ignored demands to stop resisting, and police sprayed him in the face with pepper
spray and took him into custody.
Wright, last known address Garden Drive, Hunlock
Creek, was charged with five counts of making false reports, four counts of disorderly
conduct, resisting arrest and public drunkenness.
He was jailed Sunday at the
Luzerne County Correctional Facility, unable to post $10,000 straight cash bail
set by Magisterial District Judge James Dixon. His preliminary hearing is scheduled
for 1 p.m. Oct. 29 before Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker.
Armed man robs pharmacy
James Halpi - Citizens Voice
A knife-wielding man held up a Nanticoke pharmacy Thursday morning
and made off with $100 and several boxes of painkillers, according to Nanticoke
The man entered Spotanski Pharmacy at 243 S. Prospect St. about 9:05
a.m. and pulled a very large knife that was about a foot long, police
said. The robber demanded strips of the painkiller suboxone and money from the
register, making away with a couple boxes of the drug and $100 in cash, police
The robber then ran north on South Prospect Street toward East Broad
Police described the robber as about 6 feet tall with a slim build
and a very deep voice. He was wearing a black hoodie, a red scarf over his face
and a black backpack.
State police are assisting the investigation. Anyone
with information is asked to call police at 570-735-2200.
Nanticoke man altered car odometer
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke man is facing felony forgery charges after allegedly altering the odometer
and changing paperwork on a car he sold.
Terry Matthew Panetta, 33, of 151
Orchard St., is charged with forgery, tampering with a public record, washing
vehicle titles, theft, changing odometer readings and illegal transfer of ownership.
is accused of selling a silver Ford Mustang to Jacob Rondinella after making it
appear to have less mileage than it did.
State police said they responded to
Herbies Auto Body at 275 Pringle St., which Rondinellas grandfather
owns, in June after Rondinella reported he found out the Mustang he bought after
seeing an advertisement on Craigslist had an altered odometer.
During a meeting
in December at a Sheetz gas station, Panetta identified himself as Robert Henry,
according to a police affidavit filed in court. Rondinella agreed to buy the car
and they decided to meet at Herbies Auto Body the next day.
paid Panetta a $1,500 cash deposit for the car, and they went to a notary service
in Luzerne to complete the transfer, according to the affidavit.
paid the remaining $1,700 for the car, and the title documents were sent to the
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for processing.
PennDOT caught the
mileage discrepancy between the title documents and its records and rejected the
transfer, according to police.
During questioning, Panetta told police he had
traded a Chevrolet Silverado pickup to an unknown man from Philadelphia in exchange
for the car in September 2013.
He did not properly transfer the titles for
either vehicle, according to police.
Police said Panetta admitted he disassembled
the odometer and altered it by blacking out the digits with a black
Panetta then altered the vehicle title with a pencil to indicate the
car had less mileage than it had accumulated, according to police.
District Judge Paul J. Roberts arraigned Panetta on Tuesday morning and released
him on $25,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing was set for 1:30 p.m. Oct.
ordered to trial in infants death
As she had each morning since the court order, Deborah
Goodman placed a wake-up call to her daughter Feb. 14 to make sure she checked
in with Children and Youth.
Minutes after hanging up with her, Goodman got
a call back.
The baby is dead, her daughter cried out.
fought back tears Friday at a preliminary hearing as she recalled Valentines
Day morning in Nanticoke when her daughter, Tracey A. Gonda, discovered her infant
son wedged in a cushion of a recliner in which she had dozed off after a couple
beers with him in her arms.
The death of 2½-month-old Jaxon Eckrote
was ruled homicide by asphyxia.
The parents, Gonda, 40, and Corey Eckrote,
49, were in court Friday to face involuntary manslaughter and related charges.
After a four-hour hearing, Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker bound all
charges over to the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. They remain free on
Gonda used drugs throughout her pregnancy and had no prenatal care, claiming
she was unaware she was pregnant, so Jaxon Eckrote was born drug-dependant on
Nov. 22. Master Romilsa Crocamo presided over a shelter care hearing on Dec. 6
and ruled that legal and physical custody of Jaxon Eckrote and Gondas 4-year-old
son from a previous relationship would be given to Corey Eckrote.
order prevented Gonda from being left alone with her children as well as made
Corey Eckrote responsible for not leaving Gonda alone with them. Gonda also had
to call Children and Youth each day and had to submit to random drug tests, at
least six of which she tested positive for drugs including cocaine, hydrocodone,
hydromorphone and alcohol.
Gondas attorney, Philip Gelso, argued there
was no intent element for the defendants to be charged with manslaughter.
He described the incident as a horrific accident. Eckrotes attorney,
Michael Butera, argued the only negligence on Corey Eckrotes behalf was
going to sleep in order to wake up for work, saying Gonda wasnt unsupervised
because Corey Eckrote was in the house.
Assistant District Attorney Jenny Roberts,
however, said the court order specified Gonda was never to be left unsupervised
with her children, but multiple times Corey Eckrote let that happen. That final
time they violated the court order cost them the life of their son.
also said Eckrote bought Gonda two 24 oz. cans of malt liquor she drank the night
she fell asleep in the recliner cradling their son.
Police were dispatched
to rear 340 E. Noble St. around 9:20 a.m. Feb. 14.
When police initially questioned
Gonda about the death of her son, they said she insisted she had placed the child
safely into his bassinet the night before.
But her other son, 4-year-old Max
Gonda, told police otherwise.
While police were questioning the mother, Max
interrupted, saying his baby brother was lying face down with his head between
Gonda tried to discredit what Max had said.
no he wasnt, Gonda said. He was in the bassinet. What did I
tell you about making up stories?
Police found what appeared to be dried
saliva or another type of bodily fluid on the cushion, and the bassinet Gonda
said she had placed Jaxon Eckrote in didnt appear to be used recently, as
a neatly folded blanket was set in it.
Police said Tracey Gonda came clean
Feb. 15 after investigators told her the autopsy conflicted with her story.
man pleads guilty to child porn charges
Nanticoke man pleaded guilty Friday to two counts possession and one count distribution
of child pornography.
Josh Gensel, 31, entered the plea in Luzerne County Court
before Judge Michael T. Vough, and was immediately sentenced to two years in the
Intermediate Punishment Program, followed by four years probation, court papers
say. He is to serve the first nine months on house arrest.
Gensel must forfeit
his laptop computer and is to have no internet access in his home, according to
court documents. He also must find employment within 180 days, court papers say,
have no unsupervised contact with minors and must continue mental health treatment.
must register as a Tier III, lifetime sexual offender and have an evaluation with
the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, court documents continue.
charged Gensel in February, following which he allegedly told authorities, Half
of my brain says that it isnt right and the other half says to look at it.
It is the devil and angel.
Gensel allegedly admitted he preferred boys
and girls from 7 to 13 years old, and used several software sharing files to download
He also allegedly told authorities he was involved in many youth
volunteer organizations but never had any sexual contact with children because
there were always other people around.
to seek death penalty in Nanticoke correctional officers murder
James Halpin, Staff Writer Citizens Voice
U.S. Attorneys Office on Thursday filed notice that prosecutors intend to
seek the death penalty against the gang assassin accused of murdering Correctional
Officer Eric Williams last year, alleging in court documents that Jessie Con-ui
has a history of violence, including involvement in a previous plan to kill a
Prosecutors said they think Con-ui, 37, should face death if convicted
of first-degree murder of a federal correctional officer in the death of the 34-year-old
officer from Nanticoke, who was fatally beaten and stabbed at U.S. Penitentiary
at Canaan on Feb. 25, 2013.
Game console fight leads to arrests in Nanticoke
city residents are facing criminal charges following a dispute over a video game
console that Nanticoke police said included a series of threats.
and Barbara Saldana, 41, each face charges of criminal trespass, stalking, disorderly
conduct, terroristic threats and harassment stemming from the incident.
responded to a residence on East Main Street at approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday
and police were notified by resident Lora Borland that she heard yelling and screaming
coming from outside. When she looked outside, she saw her stepson, Arthur Lee,
24, being cornered by her neighbors, Jaime and Barbara Saldana.
that Lee was at his brothers house waiting for his neighbor, Jaime Saldana,
to come home. Lee told police that he sold Jaime a motorcycle and that Jaime Saldana
gave him a PlayStation 3 video game console as partial payment, but that Jaime
Saldana still owed him $400.
Lee told police that the video game console did
not work after trying it.
When Jaime Saldana returned home, Lee told police
that he met him outside and tried to hand him the game console, when Jaime Saldana
allegedly started to yell at him, shove him and eventually slap the video game
console from his hands.
According to the criminal complaint, Jaime Saldana
pushed Lee against a gold car and forced him to stay there while he and Barbara
yelled and spit in his face.
Police say that Borland came outside and brought
her stepson inside, when the Saldanas forced their way into Borlands residence,
cornered Lee and threatened him.
Borland told police the pair also made several
threats to her, her children and against her home. Borland also said that the
Baldanas daughter Maria threatened that they were all going to pay
for getting their parents thrown in jail.
The pair also allegedly almost
knocked over Borlands 15-year-old daughter when they left.
was taken into custody and transported to police headquarters, where he told police
that he got into a disagreement with Lee over the video game console not working.
He claimed that the console in question was not the original one he gave Lee as
part of the motorcycle sale.
Barbara Saldana came to police headquarters and
was taken into custody. She denied the allegations and asked to speak with her
Jaime was placed in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for
lack of $15,000 straight bail, while Barbara is free on $15,000 unsecured bail.
Both are scheduled for a preliminary hearing before District Judge James M. Dixon
on Oct. 8.
police probe reports of burglaries, home invasion
police are investigating reports by a Christian Street couple that they were the
target of two burglaries and a home invasion within a week.
In the most recent
incident, on Thursday, a 29-year-old man reported a suspect wearing a ski mask
entered the residence around 8:30 a.m., knocked his girlfriend unconscious, and
stole prescription pills. The woman, 27, was treated by medics at the scene, but
declined further treatment, police said.
There were no signs of physical injury,
The man described the suspect as a white male with a muscular
build wearing a black ski mask, black gloves, black leather jacket, grey sweatpants
and white sneakers. Police said there was no forced entry to the home.
said the couple had reported two other burglaries in recent days.
19, the male resident said someone entered the home and stole various prescription
drugs, including morphine sulfate pills, oxycodone, gabapentin and piroxicam.
Police said there was no forced entry to the home.
Then, on Sept. 21, the mans
girlfriend reported someone forced entry to the home through a bedroom window,
stealing cash and more prescription drugs, police said.
Anyone with information
about the reported incidents is asked to call Nanticoke police at 570-735-2200.
guard faces felony drug charges
police have charged Carl Dohl, a correctional officer at SCI-Dallas, with felony
Police filed two sets of charges against Dohl, 36, of Shickshinny
this month. Police said Dohl altered a prescription to illegally obtain the painkiller
oxycodone from a CVS pharmacy. He was arraigned Sept. 15 before Magisterial District
Judge Donald L. Whittaker.
According to an affidavit, Dohl changed a prescription
for different medication to get the drug twice in July. On July 16, he tried to
get 50 pills of oxycodone, 15 milligrams each, when police arrested him at a Burger
King in Nanticoke, arrest papers said.
Police said Dohl was adamant
that he wasnt selling the pills and told investigating officers that he
needed the medicine after surgeries.
In a phone interview Monday night, Dohl
said he has suffered numerous injuries in recent years, including having his body
pulverized in a 2008 vehicle crash and a shattered elbow when he fell
off the roof while clearing snow last year. Dealing with those injuries, as well
as the repeated surgeries to repair the damage, required pain medication, he said.
at one point he switched doctors, and his new physician urged him to go to pain
management cutting him off cold turkey, he said.
I have an opiate
addiction, obviously to pain pills because Ive been on them for so long,
Dohl said. All I did was on two different occasions, I altered prescriptions
to get what I was previously prescribed for the last four years.
charged him with two counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation
and two counts of forgery, which are felonies. They also charged him with two
counts of illegal possession of a controlled substance, which are misdemeanors.
filed more charges against Dohl on Thursday, charging him with possession of drug
paraphernalia, a misdemeanor. A Nanticoke officer and Newport Township officer
served an arrest warrant on Dohl on Jan. 16, 2014, and when they took him into
custody, they found a used hypodermic needle in a pants pocket. Police said Dohl
said he was not diabetic and later said the needle was for heroin.
a corrections officer at SCI-Dallas and has been employed there since May 22,
2000, said spokeswoman Robin Lucas.
He insisted that he had not altered the
prescriptions to sell pills or to get high, adding that he would have sought a
higher dosage if that were his intention.
I am seeking help to manage
and deal with my opiate addiction that has been created by all these injuries,
said Dohl, who has been suspended pending the outcome of the case.
released on his own recognizance on the felony charges. His preliminary hearing
is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Wednesday in front of Magisterial District Judge Donald
man accused of assaulting officers
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
man arrested for the second time in a day for public drunkenness allegedly punched
Plymouth police officers and urinated on an officers boots as they loaded
him into a jail cell.
Police said they arrested Daryl Lowyn, 44, last known
to be of Nanticoke, on East Main Street on Thursday for public intoxication and
disorderly conduct his second arrest that day.
At the police station,
Lowyn threatened to kill officers. He refused to take off his shoes, and after
officers asked him the second time to remove them, Lowyn struck one officer in
the face and another in the arm.
Police said they placed him in a cell and
Lowyn urinated through doors onto the hallway floor and onto an officers
Lowyn was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated
harassment by a prisoner, resisting arrest, institutional vandalism and public
He was jailed Thursday at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility,
unable to post $10,000 straight cash bail set by Magisterial District Judge James
Tupper. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 24 before Magisterial
District Judge Donald Whittaker.
sentenced to probation for Nanticoke fight
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens
A woman involved in a fight that led to
a notorious Nanticoke barroom slashing was sentenced Tuesday to house arrest and
Melanie Figueroa, 22, of Nanticoke, was accused of being the primary
aggressor in a January 2012 fight that led to a woman being slashed in the face
with a box cutter.
Figueroa was not charged with the slashing. She pleaded
guilty to simple assault for her role in the fight.
She also pleaded guilty
to underage drinking for consuming alcohol in the bar, the Prospect Cafe, before
she was 21.
Luzerne County Judge Michael Vough on Tuesday sentenced Figueroa
to six months house arrest and two years probation.
The case began about 2
a.m. Jan. 1, 2012, when officers were dispatched to the former Prospect Street
Cafe at 23 S. Prospect St. on a report of a brawl. Jennifer Mieczkowski had sustained
severe injuries to the face after being slashed with a box-cutter.
had long accused Figueroa of the slashing, but police say they could not prove
that was the case.
Figueroa was arrested in January of this year, more than
two years since the incident.
man robs Nanticoke store
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
man armed with a knife robbed a convenience store in Nanticoke early Friday morning,
It was around 12:30 a.m. when the man walked into Turkey Hill on
West Main Street with his hood pulled over his head and bandana wrapped around
his face, the victim told police.
According to Nanticoke police:
walked straight to the counter and knocked over a candy display, a money counter
and numerous other items.
Give me everything in your drawer, the
No, she said.
This agitated the suspect. He circled
around the counter wielding a knife.
Give me everything or Ill
stab you, he said.
She handed over an undisclosed amount of money to
the masked suspect, and the man fled the store heading east on West Main Street.
victim told police the suspect was a skinny white male between 5 feet 6 inches
and 5 feet 8 inches tall. He was wearing a light gray hooded sweatshirt and black
basketball-type shorts that had a white stripe running down the side. Anyone with
information is asked to call the Nanticoke Police Department at 570-735-2200.
inmate targeted residence of other ex-inmate
Nanticoke man suspected Thomas Worthy Painter burglarized his residence because
they had served time together in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, according
to charges filed.
Painter, 19, of Third Street, Glen Lyon, was arraigned Tuesday
by District Judge Paul Roberts in Kingston on charges of burglary, criminal trespass,
theft, receiving stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, criminal
mischief and underage drinking. He was jailed at the county correctional facility
for lack of $25,000 bail.
Police said William Fisher discovered the front door
was forced open at his residence on West South Street Monday night. Fisher claimed
a Sony Playstation 2, a baseball video game and video game components were stolen.
suspected Painter was responsible because he had served time with him at the county
correctional facility and a 23.5 ounce can of Blast beer was found under his porch.
Fisher told police Painter drinks Blast beer and had been at his residence on
Sunday, according to the criminal complaint.
Police questioned Painter at his
Glen Lyon residence. He initially denied any involvement until he allegedly admitted
he went to Fishers residence to retrieve the video game system, the complaint
Painter claimed the video game system was sold without his knowledge
when he was jailed.
Police said in the complaint Painter had a pack of cigarettes
that contained Suboxone without a prescription.
Court records say Painter was
paroled on June 16 when he was awarded time served in jail on separate counts
of robbery and possession of marijuana.
man charged with raping 5-year-old girl
Jacob Seibel - Citizens
A Nanticoke man is accused of raping a 5-year-old girl multiple times
in Wilkes-Barre, according to an affidavit.
William Charles Wunner, 28,
unknown address, was charged with rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual
intercourse with a child, two counts of aggravated indecent assault of a child,
endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of minors, indecent exposure and
indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old.
According to the affidavit
filed by Wilkes-Barre police:
The grandmother of the child told officers she
often babysat her granddaughter and during a weekend in June when she was helping
the girl get dressed, she noticed her pulling away. The grandmother said she sat
the girl down and told her there are bad people although they may say not
to tell, she could tell.
The girl started to shake and said somebody
would kill her if she told. The grandmother assured her she was safe, and the
girl told her Wunner would stand naked behind her and had sexually assaulted and
After being told by the grandmother, the mother of the victim
came to police on June 22 to report what had happened to her daughter between
April and May at a Wilkes-Barre residence. Police interviewed the victim on July
1, and the girl told police what she said to her grandmother was true and what
Wunner did hurt her.
Wunner was jailed Friday at the Luzerne County Correctional
Facility, unable to post $30,000 straight cash bail set by Magisterial District
Judge Martin Kane. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 10 a.m.
man faces charges for allegedly beating girlfriend
- Citizens Voice
A Nanticoke man beat his girlfriend
so badly that she couldnt get out of bed, police said.
arrested Michael Zagora, 42, of 60 W. Green St., on Thursday for allegedly striking
Linda Spence in the head and ribs.
Officers responded to the Green Street apartment
around 8:05 a.m. after Spences daughter, Tammy Spence, reported that her
mother had called her and said that Zagora had been beating her since Sunday,
according to a police affidavit.
Spence told officers that the line went dead
and she wasnt able to call her mother back.
When police arrived at the
scene, Zagora told officers that he had been sleeping, and that Spence was still
in bed, according to the police affidavit. In the bedroom, officers said Spence
was lying down, with a swollen face, bloody nose, and a severely bruised left
Spence told officers that Zagora had kicked and punched her several times
in the head and ribs since Sunday, according to the affidavit.
a fresh blood stain was found on the living room floor where Spence had fallen.
Officers said Spence was unable to move due to her injuries. She was transported
to the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center for treatment.
Zagora was charged
with aggravated assault, simple assault, and harassment. He was jailed at the
Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of the $100,000 bail set by Magisterial
District Judge Donald Whittaker. His preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. Aug.
27 before Whittaker.
plea continued in Nanticoke mans child-porn case
guilty plea in a Nanticoke mans child pornography case will have to wait
until at least next week, after a representative from the Attorney Generals
Office was not present for a hearing on Monday.
Josh Gensel, 31, of East Green
Street, allegedly told authorities his brain acted like the devil and an angel
when they questioned him in February about allegedly viewing images and videos
of boys and girls, mostly between the ages of 7 and 13.
Half of my brain
says that it isnt right, and the other half says to look at it, Gensel
allegedly told investigators.
Authorities served a search warrant at Gensels
residence and found a laptop computer that allegedly had four videos of suspected
child pornography, the complaint says.
According to a criminal complaint, Gensel
stated he had downloaded child pornography for 12 years, knowing he would eventually
Investigators said that Gensel told them, when the police
come to your house because of computers, it is because of child pornography.
also allegedly told authorities he was involved in many youth volunteer organizations
but never had any sexual contact with children because there were always
other people around.
Court documents filed in connection with Gensels
plea continuance list seven counts: six counts of sexual abuse of children (child
pornography offenses) and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.
guilty plea hearing has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, at which time a representative
of the AGs Office will be present, court documents state.
Man tried to sell gun in Nanticoke
police say there are many reasons Tennessee resident Sean David Brin shouldnt
have had a gun.
There is his lack of a concealed carry permit, his multiple
state, multiple offense felony criminal history and a restraining order
in New York that prohibits him from possessing firearms.
say Brin, 44, of Nashville, was drunk on Patriot Square peddling a stolen revolver
to children. Brin set up shop hanging womens purses from a bicycle's handlebars
and placing a plastic bottle filled with beer in a cup holder, according to police.
In his pants pocket, police say they found a bag of synthetic marijuana.
on Saturday charged Brin with illegal possession of a firearm, receiving stolen
property, carrying a firearm without a license, possessing a controlled substance
with the intent to distribute, drug and paraphernalia possession and public drunkenness.
He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
The incident began
about 3 p.m. Saturday when a citizen reported someone was trying to sell a gun
in the middle of Patriot Square. The man told police he had been walking through
the park and asked Brin to light his cigarette when Brin offered to sell a .22-caliber
Ruger revolver for $150.
Brin also tried to sell the gun to two kids
on bicycles while waving the firearm around in the air and also tried to
sell a nickel bag of fake weed to the man who asked for a light, police
Police arrived to find Brin riding a silver Pacific Millennium mountain
bike on South Prospect Street and stopped him near East Noble Street.
say Brin, who was nervous and sweating profusely, was under the influence
of alcohol and admitted to drinking a beer at Patriot Square Park. He initially
denied having anything illegal on him, but later admitted he had a revolver in
a white purse that was dangling from the handlebars near the bottle of beer, according
to a police affidavit filed in court.
When police tried to detain Brin, he
pulled away and went toward the bike and the white purse, saying he wanted to
stop the bike from falling over, according to police. Police then forced Brin
to a patrol car and handcuffed him, police said.
A subsequent search turned
up the revolver, three 24-ounce cans of Keystone Ice in a silver purse that had
also been on the handlebars, a silver air chuck that is often used to smoke marijuana
and a cellophane cigarette wrapper containing synthetic marijuana, police said.
checked the firearms serial number and found it had been stolen during an
Aug. 5 burglary of a South Prospect Street home during which the home was ransacked
and a Stihl chainsaw was also taken.
Magisterial District Judge Diana Malast
arraigned Brin on Sunday morning and set his bail at $75,000. A preliminary hearing
is set for Aug. 20 at 1 p.m.
charged with stabbing boyfriend
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke woman is facing felony assault charges after stabbing her boyfriend
in the hand during a domestic dispute, according to Nanticoke police.
Ann Bartle, 23, of 21 Agostina Drive, is charged with aggravated assault and two
counts of simple assault following the stabbing reported about 4:15 a.m. Saturday.
were dispatched to Agostina Drive for a report that a woman stabbed a man to the
bone and that the woman was still on the scene.
Police found Shawn Ruzanski
outside an apartment and saw the top of his hand was bleeding, according to a
police affidavit. Ruzanski told police that Bartle, his girlfriend, had stabbed
him with a knife during an argument, police said.
Ruzanski directed police
to a bedroom, where they found Bartle asleep in bed. After waking up, Bartle told
police she had had enough and wanted Ruzanski to leave, but he refused,
the affidavit says.
After Ruzanski continued to refuse to leave, Bartle got
the knife and cut him, she told police.
Police arrested Bartle, who was arraigned
Saturday morning and released on her own recognizance. A preliminary hearing is
set for Aug. 13 at 1 p.m.
Ruzanski refused transport with medics and planned
to go to an area hospital in a personal vehicle, according to police.
pleads guilty to charges related to Plymouth meth lab
19-year-old woman pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from a raid at a suspected
methamphetamine lab last year that left residents of an apartment building shivering
in the cold Dec. 10 as law enforcement officials sifted through evidence.
Musto pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of materials with intent to make
methamphetamine Monday. She faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison
and a $13,000 fine. Luzerne County Judge Michael Vough accepted the plea Monday
morning and set sentencing for Sept. 10.
Musto, of Nanticoke, was one of three
people charged after a raid of Apt. 304 at 104 West Main Street in Plymouth. The
others were Robert Jones, 28, and Cheryl Cupp, 44. Court documents list both as
living in the apartment that was raided.
Jones and Cupp also appeared before
Vough Monday. He set a trial date for Sept. 15.
Initially, Musto was charged
with three counts of possession of pre-cursor chemicals with the intent to manufacture
methamphetamine, one count of manufacture of methamphetamine, one count of possession
of methamphetamine, one count of risking a catastrophe, one count of illegal dumping
of methamphetamine waste, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of possession
with the intent to deliver methamphetamine and one count of unlawful manufacture
of methamphetamine in a structure where a child under age 18 is present.
was charged with three counts of possession of pre-cursor chemicals with the intent
to manufacture a controlled substance, one count of criminal conspiracy and one
count of possession of methamphetamine.
Jones was charged with three counts
of possession of pre-cursor chemicals with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine,
one count of manufacture of methamphetamine, one count of possession of methamphetamine,
one count of risking a catastrophe, one count of illegal dumping of methamphetamine
waste, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of possession with the intent
to deliver methamphetamine and one count of unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine
in a structure where a child under age 18 is present.
to alleged burglar: No bail change without address change
Earl Hoopingarner had several reasons he felt his bail should be reduced in the
case of a December 2013 ransacking of a Nanticoke home. But he lacked the one
thing Luzerne County Judge Michael Vough required: An address other than that
of his co-defendant in the case.
In a brief hearing Monday morning seeking
a reduction of bail from $250,000, Hoopingarners argument was that he was
not a flight risk, had family in the area and that his co-defendant had a lower
bail and was out of prison while awaiting trial.
Vough noted Hoopingarner listed
his address as the same as his co-defendant, and said bluntly he would not reduce
bail as long as that was the case. Vough suggested Hoopingarner get a new
address and try for reduced bail again.
Hoopingarner, 28, and Shane Hempel,
24, were both charged with ransacking a house on Enterprise Street on Nov. 29.
Each initially had bail set at $25,000, but it was increased to $250,000 after
police withdrew the initial charges and filed new ones on Feb. 19 this year.
the time, the two were arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker on burglary,
criminal conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property and theft charges. Hoopingarner
was further charged with identity theft, receiving stolen property, access device
fraud and criminal attempt.
Items stolen included a Greater Nanticoke Area
class ring, jewelry, beer, a rifle, digital cameras, computer paper, dog food
and a credit card, according to the criminal complaints. Hoopingarner used the
stolen credit cards at several stores in the area, according to police. Shane
Hempels sister, Janice Hempel, 23, of Nanticoke, was charged with receiving
stolen property and criminal conspiracy.
arrested in authorities buy-bust operation
Wilkes-Barre police Anti-Crime Unit along with state police at Wyoming arrested
five in a buy-bust operation Wednesday, police said.
made buys throughout the city Wednesday, resulting in busts yielding either crack
cocaine or heroin, police said.
Police arrested the following: Nicholas Sando,
59, of Nanticoke; Angela Espinosa, 43, of Shavertown; John Witherspoon, 29, of
Queens, New York; Amos Coker, 26, of Ashley; and Terrell Humphrey, 29, of Wilkes-Barre.
the operation, police said they also recovered two handguns recovered and a bulletproof
pleads guilty to Nanticoke assault
woman involved in a fight that led to a notorious Nanticoke barroom slashing pleaded
guilty Monday to simple assault and purchasing alcohol as a minor.
Figueroa, 22, of 140 Sharpe St., Nanticoke, was accused of being a primary aggressor
in the January 2012, box-cutter slashing that severely injured Jennifer Mieczkowski
although she was not charged in the slashing.
Her attorney, Allyson
Kacmarski, noted during the proceeding that Figueroa did not cause
Mieczkowskis severe injuries and indicated Figueroa intends to seek house
arrest as a punishment during sentencing, which was set for Sept. 9 at 9 a.m.
faces up to two years in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000, Assistant District
Attorney Jenny Roberts said.
The case began about 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2012, when
officers were dispatched to the former Prospect Street Cafe at 23 S. Prospect
St., Nanticoke, for a report of a brawl. Mieczkowski sustained severe injuries
to the face after being slashed with the box cutter.
Witnesses reported that
several fights took place within the bar but that the first began when a patron,
Briana Engle, was assaulted, according to police.
Engle and two people who
accompanied her to the bar, Justin and Shawn Eckrote, reported that Figueroa was
acting disorderly, police said. Justin Eckrote suggested they leave and avoid
getting into an altercation, police said.
But just before the group left, Figueroa
came up behind Engle and pulled her to the ground by the hair, according to the
Figueroa beat Engle until Justin Eckrote pulled her off, at which
point Figueroa confronted Mieczkowski, who also tried to intervene, police said.
Witnesses reported Figueroa then began punching Mieczkowski, police said.
testified during a preliminary hearing that after Figueroa began hitting her with
closed fists, she got on top of Figueroa and that someone else hit her in the
back of the head.
After the fight broke up, Mieczkowski said, I stood
up and blood started running down my face.
Figueroa told police a bouncer
had let her into the bar without checking her identification. She admitted pulling
Engle off a bar stool in an unprovoked attack, but she denied attacking Mieczkowski,
But surveillance footage and witnesses statements backed up Mieczkowskis
version of events, according to police.
No one has ever been charged in the
Mieczkowski sued two weeks after the slashing, alleging the bar and
its owner, Paul Halliday, should have taken steps to protect her from the assault,
including properly training a bouncer and employees on security techniques; dressing
the bouncer in a uniform; and maintaining a blacklist for banned patrons.
records indicate that case is still pending, although the bar no longer exists.
Halliday lost the property in March 2013, when it was sold at a sheriffs
sale because of overdue mortgage payments, taxes and other bills.
pleads guilty to simple assault in Nanticoke bar melee
Figueroa pleaded guilty to a single count of simple assault in a case spawned
by a Jan. 1, 2012 Nanticoke bar melee that left a victim with permanent facial
scars from multiple slash wounds. Figueroa faces a maximum sentence of 2 years
in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Figueroa, 22, was charged with initiating a fight
when she allegedly attacked Briana Engle, 23, and Jennifer Mieczkowski, 32, in
the now-closed Prospect Street Cafe on South Prospect Street in Nanticoke. Mieczkowski
suffered multiple cuts in the brawl.
Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough
accepted the guilty plea Monday and scheduled sentencing for Sept. 9.
had done at the preliminary hearing in January, Figueroas attorney, Allyson
Kacmarski, noted on the record that the victim had suffered injuries she contends
were not inflicted by Figueroa. During that preliminary hearing, Engle testified
that Figueroa approached her from behind and punched her, knocking both of them
to the ground. Engle was not hurt.
Mieczkowski then testified she went into
the bar with a friend to buy a 12-pack of beer, got into a shouting match with
Figueroa that led to punches being thrown and the two hitting the floor in a fight.Mieczkowski
said that, when she stood up, blood was running from multiple cuts to her face.
charge of simple assault was forwarded to Luzerne County Court and trial was set
to start today, but when the parties approached the bench, she offered the guilty
plea instead. Figueroa also pleaded guilty to a summary offense of purchasing
alcohol as a minor. She was 20 at the time of the incident.
say two women face charges after trespassing
- (570) 991-6120
Police said Briana Robinson, 26, of Nanticoke and Stephany
Serra, 26, of Hanover Township were arrested early Saturday after they entered
a home in the Marion Terrace Apartment complex without the residents permission.
The women were seen inside the residence and later fled, police said. Robinson
stole the residents key in order to gain entry, police said. The women face
charges of criminal trespass and Robinson faces an additional charge of theft,
police said. Robinson and Serra were taken to the Luzerne County Correctional
Facility for arraignment.
Monaco, 51, of Nanticoke, pleaded guilty to a charge of corruption of minors.
was originally charged with attempting to lure a child into a motor vehicle.
was arrested after Pittston police were called to a report of a man asking juvenile
females to get in his car while they waited at a school bus stop on Mill Street
Police soon located Monaco in a Pittston bar and took him into
At the police station, Monaco was seen on camera smashing a light
and placing a piece of the light bulb on his neck, threatening to cut himself,
police said. According to police, officers used a stun gun on Monaco after he
refused to drop the glass. Monaco also pleaded guilty to a charge of resisting
Luzerne County Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. will sentence Monaco on Sept.
man guilty of fraud
Nanticoke man accused of presenting fraudulent prescriptions at several pharmacies
pleaded guilty to related charges in Luzerne County Court.
Marc J. Zawadzki,
41, of Center Street, pleaded guilty to four counts of acquiring a controlled
substance by fraud.
Prosecutors withdrew charges of forgery and criminal use
of communications facility against Zawadzki.
Authorities with the state Office
of Attorney Generals Bureau of of Narcotics Investigations and Drug Control
and Pittston police accused Zawadzki with presenting bogus prescriptions using
his name and a womans name, and signing the prescriptions in the names of
two physicians at a pharmacy on South River Street, Plains Township, and in Pittston
on South Main Street and Kennedy Boulevard from August 2013 to February 2014,
according to the criminal complaints.
Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. said Zawadzki
will be sentenced Aug. 11.
police: Man offered teen drugs for firearms
Jory Heckman - Citizens
Police say a Wilkes-Barre man offered a
14-year-old girl drugs in exchange for her grandfathers guns.
gave her, troopers said, turned out to be a bag of oregano.
State police at
Wyoming arrested Robert W. Belcher, 29, on Tuesday for offering synthetic marijuana
to a 14-year-old girl in Nanticoke in exchange for guns. Troopers said Belcher
has a prior conviction for burglary, and his criminal record prevents him from
Troopers said Belcher texted the juvenile and asked her if
she wanted to buy synthetic marijuana from him. When she told him she did not
have any money, police said Belcher asked if she had access to any guns. She told
troopers she sent a picture of her grandfathers guns to Belcher.
said Belcher drove to the juveniles house and picked up the guns, which
she placed near the back porch. The girl said Belcher left her a bag of oregano
In an affidavit, troopers said Belcher is currently homeless.
He had been living with friends who recently kicked him out for a physical altercation,
Belcher was charged with receiving stolen property, prohibited
possession of a firearm and corruption of minors. He was jailed at the Luzerne
County Correctional Facility, unable to pay the $75,000 bail set by Magisterial
District Judge James Dixon. His preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. July 9 before
vehicles reported stolen in Nanticoke
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
police are investigating a report of two stolen vehicles.
Police said a resident
reported the vehicles were taken from Lawrence Street on Saturday.
told police a black rollback truck took both of the vehicles: a 2005 black Chevrolet
Equinox with a state registration of DMY1459 and a blue 2003 Mitsubishi Galant
with a state registration of GMH6185.
Anyone with information can call the
Nanticoke Police Department at 570-735-2200.
accused of kicking her child in the head
Jacob Seibel - Citizens
A woman who allegedly kicked her 5-year-old
child in the head, fought with officers and broke a police car window is charged
with simple assault and other offenses, Ashley Borough police said.
charged Angel M. Yaskiewicz, 27, of 109 W. Grand St., Nanticoke, with two counts
of simple assault, resisting arrest, institutional vandalism, disorderly conduct,
harassment and criminal trespassing. Charges stem from a fight between Yaskiewicz
and her ex-boyfriend on June 7 that police responded to around 11 p.m., according
to an affidavit.
Police said during the dispute at a home on Ashley Street,
Yaskiewicz punched her ex-boyfriend in the face, kicked the child in the head
and ripped off another womans shirt and bra. She also resisted arrest and
bent the back window of a police car until it shattered, police said. When police
stunned her with a Taser, she started kicking one of the officers, according to
Yaskiewicz remains free on $10,000 unsecured bail set by Magisterial
District Judge Joseph Halesey. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.
July 1 before Halesey.
gets 3 to 6 years in prison for burglary spree
Bob Kalinowski -
A Nanticoke man is headed to state
prison for a minimum of three years for a lengthy theft and burglary spree that
targeted homes and United States military vehicles.
Adam Kuren, 30, was in
court Tuesday for sentencing for seven different crimes, most of them break-ins
and thefts at residential homes, including a burglary at 1002 S. Prospect St.
in Nanticoke on Thanksgiving Day 2012.
In one case, Kuren broke into military
vehicles at the Pennsylvania Army National Guard armory in Nanticoke while out
on bail for a host of other crimes.
Luzerne County Judge Fred Pierantoni on
Tuesday ordered Kuren to spend three to six years in prison.
burglary defendant sentenced in county court
Nanticoke man on Monday was sentenced to spend eight to 23 months in the Luzerne
County Correctional facility in connection with a burglary case, but then immediately
paroled because the 261 days he already has served exceeded the minimum sentence.
Sommers, 23, of East Ridge Street, will now spend two years on probation for a
second theft case, and must find a job within 90 days, county Judge Michael Vough
According to police:
On June 29, Sommers allegedly sold stolen
copper and other metal to a scrap yard, then he and his brother Kenneth Sommers,
28, and another man went to Wilkes-Barre to buy heroin, interviews with the suspects
Eric Sommers pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor theft count in that
On Aug. 9, officers responded to a warehouse on North Market Street in
Glen Lyon, where two men reportedly were stealing metal. Sommers and his brother
were found in vehicle loaded up with a large amount of metal from the building.
Sommers pleaded guilty to one felony count of burglary in that case.
of Kenneth Sommers charges could not immediately be confirmed.
must pay $1,700 to Voynton Contractors for copper pipe stolen in the June incident
woman pleads guilty to stealing money from employer
woman from Nanticoke accused of stealing money from her employer and checks from
her boyfriends mother pleaded guilty to theft related charges in Luzerne
Brandy Peters, 31, of Center Street, pleaded guilty to separate
counts of theft by unlawful taking and a single count of false report to law enforcement
Judge Fred Pierantoni III said Peters will be sentenced on Aug.
According to the criminal complaints:
Peters was hired at Lattimer Machine
and Fabricating in Hazle Township in October 2012 as a secretary with duties that
included processing payroll.
From Nov. 15, 2012 to April 2, 2013, state police
said Peters paid herself at an unauthorized hourly rate and for hours she did
not work, the complaint says.
State police said in the complaint Peters opened
a Staples charge account without permission and wrote four checks to herself from
the business account.
Authorities said Peters had stolen $16,808 from
Lattimer Machine and Fabricating during her brief employment.
said Peters had stolen 60 checks from her boyfriends mother, and cashed
the checks with amounts under $10 but requested cash back during transactions,
according to the complaint.
Fairview Township police said Peters was one of
three people who claimed they stumbled upon an unresponsive man lying on state
Route 437 on June 14. Police later determined Peters and two others were with
the man who had overdosed on heroin, and made up the story that they found him
unresponsive on the state roadway, the complaint says.
Twp. couple arrested in domestic dispute
Jacob Seibel - Citizens
Published: June 7, 2014
police arrested a couple after the boyfriend choked his girlfriend for throwing
rocks at him, according to police affidavits.
Richard L. Rudy Jr., 39, of 1012
W. Main Ave., Nanticoke, and April L. Mitchell, 23, of 331 W. Shawnee Ave., Plymouth,
were jailed Thursday at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on assault charges.
was sitting on a guardrail with Rudy beside her when police pulled up to them
near Mill and Jims Parkway Inn on the Kirmar Parkway, according to affidavits.
As Chief Jeremy Blank got out of his vehicle, Rudy told him he was too late and
he had already been hit with the rocks, arrest papers said.
Mitchell told the
officer that Rudy choked her, according to arrest papers. Blank said there was
redness and slight swelling around Mitchells throat where she said Rudy
had both his hands around her neck. Mitchell told police Rudy threatened to kill
her and slammed her off the guardrail, according to arrest papers.
charged Rudy with possessing drug paraphernalia after they found two marijuana
pipes on him, which arrest papers said he denied were his.
preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. June 25 before Magisterial District
Judge Donald Whittaker, who set Rudys bail at 10 percent of $10,000 and
set Mitchells at 10 percent of $2,500.
inmate arraigned after allegedly bringing in drugs
- Citizens Voice
An inmate at the Luzerne County
Correctional Facility was arraigned on charges Friday after allegedly bringing
drugs into jail.
According to agents from the state attorney generals
Michael Rentko, 30, of 151 Park St. in Nanticoke, brought benzodiazepine
powder, which is related to drugs like Xanax and Valium, with him to court and
then snuck it into prison.
Agents found the drugs on Rentko during a strip
search on Aug. 27, 2013. Rentko told agents that while appearing for a court date,
he hid about 4 or 5 grams of benzodiazepine powder in a piece of rubber glove
and put it in his pants pocket. When he was remanded to prison, Rentko dropped
the drugs into a box that contained his prison clothes. Over the course of several
days, he used the powder undetected until a majority of it was stolen during an
assault by other inmates. Rentko was originally jailed on theft charges.
was charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count
of intentional possession of a controlled substance. His preliminary hearing is
set for 10 a.m. June 12 before Magisterial District Judge Martin Kane.
face manslaughter charges in infants death
Jacob Seibel -
When police initially
questioned Tracey A. Gonda about the death of her 2½-month-old infant son
who was found wedged in a seat cushion of a recliner they say she
insisted she had placed the child safely into his bassinet the night before.
her other son, a 4-year-old, told police otherwise.
While police were questioning
Gonda, the 4-year-old, identified by police only as MG, interrupted, saying his
baby brother was lying face down with his head between the cushion.
tried to discredit what MG had said.
(MG), no he wasnt, Gonda
said. He was in the bassinet. What did I tell you about making up stories?
say the mother eventually came clean.
They say Gonda drank a couple beers and
dozed off sitting on the recliner Feb. 13 with the baby, Jaxon Eckrote, in her
arms. Sometime during the night, she woke up and went upstairs to go back to sleep.
The next morning when she came downstairs she discovered her son wedged in the
seat cushion of the recliner and his legs pointing in the air.
asleep on the recliner and later found him, she told police.
involved in the death of Jaxon Eckrote are free on bail following their arraignments
Friday on charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of children.
40, and Corey L. Eckrote, 49, both of Nanticoke, each posted 10 percent property
bail set by Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker. Gonda was also charged
with recklessly endangering another person and giving false reports to law enforcement.
to the arrest affidavit filed by the Nanticoke Police Department:
was alive for 84 days. When Gonda gave birth to him on Nov. 22, Gonda tested positive
for dangerous drugs. Gonda used drugs throughout her pregnancy and
had no prenatal care, but she claimed she was unaware she was pregnant.
Romilsa Crocamo presided over a shelter care hearing on Dec. 6 and ruled that
legal and physical custody of Jaxon Eckrote and Gondas 4-year-old son from
a previous relationship would be given to Corey Eckrote.
The couple often fought
over caring for their son and complained about not getting enough rest. Gonda
was permitted to have supervised visits with her two children.
a caseworker for Children and Youth, was assigned to the supervision of those
visits. However, Gondas mother, Deborah Goodman, told investigators Griffin
wouldnt stay all that long, noting, Everyone got lax with Tracey being
Gondas mother and her father, Goodman, also helped
out with caring for the two children. Deborah Goodman said her daughter and Corey
Eckrotes relationship has its ups and down. Gonda had been complaining
lately of him being a slob and not doing his fair share with the children.
night before Gonda fell asleep on the recliner she asked Corey Eckrote to watch
their son so she could lie down, but after 15 minutes, he handed Jaxon Eckrote
back to her, saying he had to be up for work in the morning.
On Feb. 14, after
Gonda discovered her sons body, the first call Gonda made was to her mother.
The second was to 911.
Police were dispatched to a residence at rear 340 E.
Noble St. around 9:20 a.m.
Police found what appeared to be dried saliva or
another type of bodily fluid on the cushion, and the bassinet Gonda said she had
placed Jaxon Eckrote in didnt appear to be used recently, as a neatly folded
blanket was set in it.
Luzerne County Coroner Bill Lisman examined Jaxon Eckrote,
noting the following injuries: open wounds to the left hand and fingers; impressions
on the forehead, hairline and tip of the nose; and postmortem lividity to the
right side of the face. A strong odor of urine also emanated from him as his clothing
and diaper were saturated with urine.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross also
performed an autopsy Feb. 15 at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and determined Eckrotes
death was a homicide by asphyxia.
MG was taken in by Children and Youth, and
both Gonda and Corey Eckrote had to submit urine samples. Gonda tested positive
for alcohol, and Corey Eckrote tested positive for hydrocodone, hydromorphone
and alcohol, according to authorities.
A court order required Gonda to submit
random drug testing. Out of the 70 days the court order stood in place, she tested
positive six times for drugs including cocaine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and
Gondas and Corey Eckrotes preliminary hearings are set
for 3 p.m. June 4 before Whittaker.
who ran over friend released on parole
A man who fatally ran over his best friend with a Jeep
nine years ago in Nanticoke has been released from prison on parole, court records
Brandon Obaza, now 28, was released from custody on Sunday, according
to documents filed in Luzerne County Court by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation
Investigators charged Obaza with intentionally driving over 25-year-old
Stephen S. Novak on July 17, 2005 in a remote area of Nanticoke, leaving him pinned
underneath the vehicle, where he died of head trauma.
Obaza told police Novak
had a death wish and the murder was a mercy killing, police said at
After Obaza pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, then-Luzerne County
Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. sentenced Obaza to serve six to 12 years in state
Obaza has been up for parole since July 2011 and his maximum sentence
would have expired on July 16, 2017.
At the time of the murder, police said
they investigated the possibility of the killing having satanic and occult overtones
as items used in satanic worship were found in the homes of Obaza and Novak
but never concluded whether there was any relation.
plead guilty in prostitution string
Brendan Gibbons - Citizens Voice
Five of 12 people arrested in a prostitution sting by Pennsylvania
State Police this month have pleaded guilty.
On May 8, undercover troopers
with the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigations, posing as johns, met
prostitutes at the Hampton Inn at 22 Montage Mountain Road and the Econo Lodge
at 1175 Kane St. in Scranton.
Undercover troopers made contact with prostitutes
over the phone, then arranged to meet them at one of the motels. The troopers
and suspects met from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Eight of the 12 arrived in pairs.
Two came alone. One, Toni V. Korsakas, 27, of 64 S. Main St., Ashley, was dropped
off by Michael J. Hausknecht, 34, of 711 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, whose vehicle
was caught on surveillance video. Hausknecht pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution.
Dillon, 27, of 262 Apollo Circle, Nanticoke, who arrived with Lisa Marie St. George,
32, of 145 Park St., Nanticoke, told troopers she works for another woman whose
name could not be verified. She drove them there, Dillon told troopers, and agreed
to split the money three ways.
Efforts to reach state police spokeswoman Trooper
Connie Devens were not successful.
Prices ranged from $100 for full service
to $325 for oral sex, according to state police. Once the money changed hands,
troopers made their arrests.
Lauren M. Rushton, 28, of 16 Cherry St., Wilkes-Barre;
Angela T. Diaz, 36, of Wilkes-Barre; Robyn L. Frederick, 38, of 148 S. Lincoln
Ave., Scranton; and Korsakas entered guilty pleas on two preliminary hearing dates,
May 14 and May 30.
Judges Terrence Gallagher and Theodore Giglio ordered them
to pay around $560 in fines and fees. Preliminary hearings for St. George, Dillon
and Kyla C. Sepulveda, 25, of 95 Russell St., Kingston, were continued until Sept.
Formal arraignments for Christal L. Mutua, 28, of 82 Division St., Hanover
Township; Tobitha Mozisek, 24, of 243 Hazle St.,Wilkes-Barre; and Shaquana Clayborn,
23, of Trenton, N.J. are set for June 27. An arraignment for Taquana S. Jenkins,
23, of 263 Park Ave., Wilkes-Barre, is July 11.
Unsecured bail was set at $5,000
for all but Rushton. All are free.
face charges in infant death
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
charged in the death of their 2½-month-old infant son are free on bail
following their arraignment today on charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering
the welfare of children.
Tracey A. Gonda, 40, and Corey L. Eckrote, 49, both
of Nanticoke, each posted 10 percent property bail set by Magisterial District
Judge Donald Whittaker. Gonda was also charged with recklessly endangering another
person and giving false reports to law enforcement.
Nanticoke police were
dispatched to a residence at rear 340 E. Noble St. around 9:20 a.m. Feb. 14 to
investigate the death of infant Jaxon Eckrote, according to police. Nanticoke
police said Gonda found her son dead with his head wedged in the seat cushion
of a recliner.
On Feb. 15, the day after Jaxon's body was found, the Luzerne
County Coroner's Office ruled the death a homicide. Forensic pathologist Dr. Gary
Ross performed an autopsy Feb. 15 at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and determined
Eckrote's death was a homicide by asphyxia.
Parents fought over sleep; caring for baby
Nanticoke police allege Tracey Gonda
drank alcohol, fell asleep with baby in her arms
papers for a couple charged in the death of their 2 1/2 month old son allege they
often fought over caring for the baby in order to get sleep as the mother consumed
alcohol before dozing off with the infant in her arms.
Tracey Gonda, 40, and
Corey L. Eckrote, 49, surrendered Friday morning on involuntary manslaughter and
child endangerment charges. Gonda was also charged with false reports to law enforcement
and reckless endangerment.
They were arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker
in Nanticoke and released after each posted $50,000 bail.
City police allege
Tracey Gonda, after drinking two 24 ounce cans of a malt liquor, fell asleep in
a recliner with Jaxon Eckrote in her arms on Feb. 14. The baby was found dead
several hours later wedged in the recliner, according to the criminal complaint.
allege Gonda and Eckrote passed the baby to each other as they both needed sleep
on Feb. 14. Eckrote had the baby for 15 minutes before giving the infant back
to Gonda as he claimed he needed sleep because he had work the next morning, the
An autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross revealed Jaxon
Eckrote died from asphyxiation. The manner of death was ruled a homicide by Luzerne
County Coroner William Lisman.
Arrest papers say Gonda was using dangerous
drugs during her pregnancy with Jaxon and had no pre-natal care. Jaxon was
born with medical complications due to Gondas drug use, the complaint says.
County Children and Youth became involved with Gonda and Eckrote as they cared
for a second, older child. Cory Eckrote was awarded custody of Jaxon and the older
girl with Gonda authorized for supervised visitation.
Up sentences imposed; ring leader receives state prison term
people arrested in Operation Shape Up, an investigation that targeted cocaine
and marijuana trafficking from a barbershop in Wilkes-Barre, were sentenced in
Luzerne County Court last week.
The ring leader, John Johnny Bambimo
Miller, 27, of Plymouth, associates Anthony AJ Wisneski, 31, of Nanticoke,
and David Atkinson, 24, of Nanticoke, were the only three who received state prison
Drug agents with the state Office of Attorney Generals Bureau
of Narcotics Investigation and Luzerne County Drug Task Force charged 16 people
in June and July in an investigation that targeted the cocaine and marijuana smuggling
of John Miller.
Authorities alleged associate Ramon Colon, 27, of Mayflower
Crossing apartments, Wilkes-Barre, used the Master Cuts barbershop on Hazle Street,
Wilkes-Barre, as a hub for much of the organizations cocaine and marijuana
The barbershop, a furniture store, a vacant warehouse
and several houses were simultaneously searched by drug agents on June 28.
believe John Miller and his associates were responsible for trafficking at least
20 kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of $2 million, and at least
200 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $600,000 from November
2012 to the time of the searches.
Judge Lisa Gelb imposed sentences on the
seven people on Friday. They are:
John Miller received seven to 14 years
in state prison on charges of corrupt organizations, criminal conspiracy and possession
with intent to deliver a controlled substance.
Anthony Wisneski received
three to six years in state prison on charges of corrupt organizations, criminal
conspiracy and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.
Shannon Wisneski, 37, of Nanticoke, received three years in the countys
Intermediate Punishment Program with the first six months on house arrest with
electronic monitoring on charges of criminal conspiracy and criminal use of communication
Amy Miller, 45, John Millers mother, received three
years in the Intermediate Punishment Program with the first 18 months house arrest
and 12 months of electronic monitoring on charges of criminal conspiracy and criminal
use of communication facility.
David Atkinson, 24, of Nanticoke, received
two to four years in state prison and two years probation on charges of corrupt
organizations, criminal conspiracy and delivery of a controlled substance.
Kieth Wasiakowski, 27, of Nanticoke, received 12 months, less one day, to two
years, less two days in the county prison on charges of criminal conspiracy and
criminal use of communication facility.
William Brooklyn Bill
Pezzella, 51, of Nanticoke, received three years in the Intermediate Punishment
Program with the first 12 months on house arrest and six months of electronic
monitoring on charges of criminal conspiracy and criminal use of communication
Those whose cases remain open include:
Kim Chan, 50, of
Lehman Township, charged with criminal conspiracy and possession with intent to
deliver a controlled substance. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled on July 11.
Ramon Colon, Mayflower Crossings, Wilkes-Barre, charged with corrupt organizations
and delivery of a controlled substance. Sentencing hearing is scheduled on Aug.
Alexandra Mateo, 22, wife of Ramon Colon, charged with corrupt organizations
and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. Sentencing hearing
is scheduled on Aug. 22.
Brandon Hynes, 24, of Ashley, charged with
criminal conspiracy and delivery of a controlled substance. Sentencing hearing
is scheduled on July 11.
David Pocho Castro, 39, of Hazleton,
charged with corrupt organizations, possession with intent to deliver a controlled
substance, criminal conspiracy and criminal use of communication facility.
Freddy Reyes, 46, of Mountain Top, and David Hernandez, 25, of Wilkes-Barre, are
charged with corrupt organizations, possession with intent to deliver a controlled
substance, delivery of a controlled substance, criminal use of communication facility
and criminal conspiracy. Trial is scheduled on June 2.
Kane, 34, of Wilkes-Barre, pleaded guilty in February to corrupt organizations,
criminal conspiracy and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.
Unknown if he was sentenced.
Previously sentenced was Michael Tone
Rosario, 24, of Nanticoke, who received five years probation on a criminal conspiracy
charge for Operation Shape Up and two to four years in state prison on a 2011
unrelated drug arrest.
burglary suspects ordered to stand trial
Jacob Seibel - Citizens
Two men accused in a Thanksgiving
Day burglary of a Nanticoke home will face trial in county court, a judge ruled
Wednesday after two days of testimony.
Police say Earl Hoopingarner, 28, ransacked
and looted the home of Krystle Lampman at 201 Enterprise St. while Shane Hempel,
25, served as a lookout. After postponing his decision in order to review all
the evidence presented, Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker sent the slew
of charges against the two men over to the Luzerne County Court of Common pleas
Attorneys for the two men agree someone broke into the Nanticoke
home, but argued theres no evidence that their clients were responsible.
Trooper Bryan Fedor testified on May 20 that he had interviewed Hempel, who admitted
to his and Hoopingarners role after being arrested in December. Hoopingarners
attorney, Mark Bufalino, and Hempels attorney, John Donovan Jr., called
the troopers testimony hearsay.
Bufalino said while he concedes the home
was broken into, he disagrees with what he called a lack of proof that Hempel
and Hoopingarner are the ones who committed the burglary, saying prosecutors were
relying on hearsay to establish evidence.
Assistant District Attorney Michelle
Hardik argued that hearsay is admissible at a preliminary hearing and said Fedor
was directly involved with the investigation.
Hes testifying to
what (Hoopingarner) did, not what he said, Hardik said.
In addition to
burglary charges, Hoopingarner was charged in February with several counts of
receiving stolen property and identity theft. Trooper Stephen Turinski testified
that Hoopingarner appeared to be the man in surveillance recordings who used Lampmans
credit cards, which had been reported missing after the burglary.
for Hoopingarner and Hempel are scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 1 at the Luzerne County
Courthouse. They remain jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, unable
to post $250,000 each.
Janice Hempel, 23, also faces charges in connection
with the burglary for receiving stolen property. She testified against her brother,
Shane Hempel, and her boyfriend, Hoopingarner, saying they came home the night
of the burglary with duffle bags of jewelry including a Pandora bracelet
Hoopingarner gave her and other items. She said prosecutors did not offer
her anything in exchange for her testimony.
Her charges were bound to the Court
of Common Pleas after she waived her preliminary hearing and Whittaker gave her
$100,000 unsecured bail. Her formal arraignment is also set for Aug. 1.
Convicted club drug
smuggler Peter Sepling spent $30,000 on women, booze, drugs
Nanticoke man who served two years in federal prison for operating a drug ring
that distributed steroids and ecstasy in 2007 is returning to federal prison for
a longer time.
U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo on Tuesday sentenced
Peter Sepling, 43, of East Grand Street, to eight years, six months in prison
for importing the club drug Gamma Butyrolactone, or GBL, from China in April 2011.
who faced up to 20 years in prison, was sentenced for purchasing three kilos of
GBL that he ordered under a bogus name and had it delivered to the residence of
John Nikoloff in West Wyoming. Nikoloff was sentenced in November to two years
During Tuesdays court proceeding, Seplings attorney,
Joseph Nahas, said Sepling was rearrested in January for ordering methylone, a
controlled substance since 2011, from a source in China.
Assistant U.S. Attorney
William Houser said investigators learned from a concealed recording device worn
by a confidential informant that Sepling earned $30,000, his share of profits
for ordering methylone for another man who has not been charged.
By his own
admission, Sepling said he wasted the money on women, booze and drugs.
was a mess, Sepling said. Its embarrassing what I was doing.
All the money I made on this, I spent on girls. I need to be in prison to break
Sepling, a former bodybuilder, spoke for more than 10 minutes
describing how he felt alone after his father died in March 2013, drinking 20
shots of liquor and consuming a large amount of beer each day to help him sleep.
On weekends, Sepling said he would party with girls he would call and invite to
his house to consume more alcohol and drugs.
I started calling bad girls
over on the weekends, Sepling said. Im a nice guy. Im
even a nice guy when Im high.
Sepling, who stands 6 feet, 5 inches
and weighs 260 pounds, said he was addicted to food, drugs and alcohol. At one
point, Sepling stopped himself after saying he was embarrassed for having, unprotected
Whatever I get, I deserve, Sepling said, noting he probably
would be dead in a year if he continued his party lifestyle.
Although he wasnt
charged with ordering methylone, the offense was used toward his sentence on ordering
GBL, a club drug that has less impact than ecstasy. He pleaded guilty to the federal
charge in October.
Sepling said he never distributed GBL to other people, and
used it himself as a bodybuilding thing.
In 2007, Sepling pleaded
guilty to conspiring to distribute ketamine, a tranquilizer that is a popular
club drug. Authorities said Sepling obtained large quantities of the
drug from a source in India.
driver in fatal hit-and-run sent to Danville facility
Lenient judges in Luzerne County cared more about a reckless,
remorseless teenage driver than the man he severed into pieces in a violent, high-speed
crash last July in Nanticoke, the victims daughter said in a letter read
in court Friday.
In various court proceedings, Tyler Dudas plight overshadowed
the horrific way Nickolas Zurillas life ended: dismembered and instantly
killed by an out-of-control speeding car driven by Duda, Zurillas daughter
Kristy Place wrote.
His life was downplayed by these hearings,
Place said in the letter read by a prosecutor during Dudas sentencing hearing
Friday in juvenile court.
Duda pleaded guilty last week in juvenile court to
killing 59-year-old Zurilla, cutting him into three pieces after crashing into
him at 72 mph around 2:15 a.m. on July 5 as Zurilla was leaving a party held across
the street from his West Union Street home.
Place slammed Duda as a constant
troublemaker who lacked remorse, doubling down on a mention by prosecutors that
Duda has racked up 24 infractions since being placed in custody after his arrest
He sat there yawning after pictures of my dismembered dad
were shown in court at the first hearing, Place said.
Juvenile Court Judge William Amesbury, appearing to come to tears, told Place
he understands the grief the family is going through.
Amesbury ordered Duda,
now 17, to be placed in North Central Secure Treatment Unit, a secured juvenile
detention center on the grounds of Danville State Hospital in Montour County that
has more restrictions than other facilities that have housed Duda. The judge ordered
Dudas status to be reviewed every six months to see if he has been rehabilitated,
but the first review will be held in 60 days. Duda pleaded guilty last week to
charges of homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, causing a fatal accident
while unlicensed and several traffic offenses. Since placement until age 21 is
the maximum penalty in the juvenile system, Duda is facing up to 3½ years
in a detention facility, but will be released if a judge determines hes
Duda was originally charged with third-degree murder in adult
court and faced a maximum of 20 to 40 years in state prison. Luzerne County Judge
Lesa Gelb recently moved his case to juvenile court.
We did everything
we could to have him held accountable in the adult system, Assistant District
Attorney Mamie Phillips said in court.
She told Amesbury the district attorneys
office decided not to appeal Gelbs ruling because Duda would likely be released
during the appeal process. He needs to be held in custody because he currently
is a threat to the community, Phillips said. Gelb ruled Duda deserves a chance
at rehabilitation and didnt belong in a criminal setting, where
hed be susceptible to sexual assaults and violence.
In imposing the sentence
on Friday, Amesbury told Duda he was being given the challenge of
a second shot at life.
This is the chance hes requested. Its
been given to him, Amesbury said.
Duda said he was remorseful and was
grateful to one day be able to live a productive life.
sorry for what happened that night. I cant stop thinking about what I have
done, Duda said. I promise everything I will do will be in honor of
meth lab busted in Nanticoke
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
police busted an apparent methamphetamine lab Wednesday afternoon.
William Shultz said after police made a traffic stop, an individual told them
meth lab materials were in a garage at 221 W. Main St.
A female living at the
residence gave police consent to search the home and the garage, where police
found all the components used to make methamphetamine, Shultz said.
one has been charged for the bust, but suspects have been identified, he said.
police took all items for testing. Nanticoke police are awaiting the results of
the tests. Charges are pending the results of the investigation.
continue for pair accused in Thanksgiving burglary
- Citizens Voice
Testimony continued Tuesday
during preliminary hearings for two men accused of burglarizing a Nanticoke home
Police said Earl Hoopingarner, 28, ransacked and looted Krystle
Lampmans home at 201 Enterprise St. while Shane Hempel, 25, served as a
Janice Hempel, 23, of 220 Enterprise St., who also faces charges in
connection with the burglary, testified against her brother, Shane Hempel, and
her boyfriend, Hoopingarner, on May 12 and again Tuesday. She waived her preliminary
hearing last week and was released from jail on unsecured bail.
hearings were continued because Assistant District Attorney Michelle Hardik didnt
have a copy of a written statement Janice Hempel gave police in January to give
to the defense. On Tuesday, Hempel read the statement, an account of what happened
the day of the burglary.
They said they had a job to do, she read,
testifying she didnt know what her brother and boyfriend meant by job.
The night of the burglary, Hoopingarner and Shane Hempel came home with a television,
a DVD player, jewelry and other items, she said.
In January, she told police
she didnt want to sit in jail anymore and helped lead police to a rifle
that went missing the day of the burglary. After she spoke with police, the two
men received additional charges of theft, conspiracy to commit theft and two counts
of receiving stolen property. Hoopingarner was also charged with multiple counts
of identity theft for using Lampmans credit cards that police said he had
stolen during the burglary.
Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker said
he will review the court notes and exhibits and will render a verdict next Tuesday.
admits to fatal crash
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
Duda walked into a courtroom Monday afternoon and admitted he did it.
wasnt enough for the family of 59-year-old Nickolas Zurilla, a pedestrian
cut into three pieces last summer when Duda took his mothers car out for
a joyride in the middle of the night.
Duda, who is now 17, admitted his guilt
as a juvenile to charges of homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, causing
a fatal accident while unlicensed and several traffic offenses. He is facing up
to 3½ years in a juvenile facility at his sentencing Friday.
In a letter
to the court read during Mondays hearing, Zurillas family said the
recent decision by Luzerne County Judge Lesa Gelb to send the case to juvenile
court amounts to a slap on the wrist that will allow him to be free
and back behind the wheel on his 21st birthday.
We feel the wrongful
death of Nickolas was barely discussed or touched upon during the time in court,
the family wrote. Why werent the pictures from the night of the accident
shown? These pictures could have painted a clear image of the severity of the
reckless crime to the court. Why was the only thing that seemed important during
the recent two days in court was if Mr. Duda was able to be rehabilitated for
District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said her office put
everything we had into the hearing to keep the case in adult court. Once
Gelb ruled against the prosecution saying Duda deserves a chance at rehabilitation
and doesnt belong in a criminal setting it became clear
that not appealing the decision would best serve the interest of public safety,
It could take six months to sometimes a year for an appeal
to go through. That would be six months to a year that this individual would be
out on the streets, Salavantis said, adding that all experts have agreed
Duda needs treatment. We felt that was in the best interest of the community,
and honestly, this child.
In entering his plea, Duda admitted crashing
into and dismembering Zurilla while driving 72 mph on a residential Nanticoke
street around 2:15 a.m. July 5, when he was 16. The car, which belonged to his
mother and which he had taken without permission, continued down the street before
crashing into a house, knocking a 16-year-old passenger unconscious and leaving
him with facial injuries.
Investigators said Duda had not been drinking and
was not under the influence of drugs, but he was not licensed to drive, did not
have a learners permit and had no driving experience.
Appearing in court
Monday, Duda, who is being held at a juvenile facility in Northampton County,
wore an orange button-up shirt and beige slacks, delivering short, soft-spoken
answers to the judges questions. He indicated he understood the charges
and that he was voluntarily admitting his guilt.
Luzerne County Juvenile Court
Judge William Amesbury, noting he was new to the case, said he would review the
details as well as reports from mental health professionals before deciding at
10 a.m. Friday on what treatment Duda will get. The maximum penalty Duda could
face is being in custody until his 21st birthday, although Amesbury will have
to review the case at least every six months to determine Dudas progress,
said his attorney, Cheryl A. Sobeski-Reedy.
Noting Zurillas family will
be unable to attend Friday, Assistant District Attorney Mamie Phillips read their
statement, saying the Marine Corps veteran was killed on his way home after celebrating
the Fourth of July with his friends.
Our family feels that no remorse
or willingness to change was shown by Mr. Duda during each time in court, along
with no willingness to address an apology to our family, which adds to the physical,
mental and emotional pain we endure every day, the statement said. Our
family is frightened over the reality that this decision will enable 16 and 17
year-olds to make poor decisions if all they are receiving is a slap on the wrist
and a chance to be rehabilitated for their severe crime.
judge responded, saying the only thing that can be done now is for Duda to dedicate
himself to self-betterment in Zurillas name.
There is no way that
anyone can undo whats been done, Amesbury said. There are no
words that can fill the emptiness in your hearts.
Then, for the first
time, Duda publicly apologized.
I just want to say Im really sorry.
Theres nothing I can really do to fix it, Duda said during a brief
statement, adding that he intends to dedicate himself to his rehabilitation.
Amesbury dismissed court, Duda and his mother, Lori Duda, shared a tearful embrace
before guards escorted him from the room, his eyes closing as his right hand pinched
the bridge of his nose.
After the hearing, Sobeski-Reedy said Duda needs treatment
including individual and family counseling, as well as courses in decision-making,
anger management and resisting peer pressure. Duda had been ready to reach a plea
from the beginning, she said.
He was having trouble sleeping and eating,
suicidal tendencies, Sobeski-Reedy said. We have been reaching out
to the commonwealth from the beginning.
Salavantis said prosecutors fought
to keep the case in adult court, and noted that because the state will only have
custody of Duda until he turns 21, dropping the murder charge will not have an
impact on his sentence in the juvenile system.
Ultimately it came down
to the judges decision. So we have to respect that and proceed and think
about the family and what the family would have to go through as well as the safety
of the community, Salavantis said. I am actually heartbroken for the
family, the way that their loved one was killed is just devastating.
accused of stealing, selling seeder for scrap
Jory Heckman - Citizens
Police arrested a Nanticoke man after
he allegedly stole a piece of landscaping equipment and sold it for scrap metal.
police arrested Daniel Olshefski, 26, of 11 Burnett St., after he allegedly stole
a hydroseeder, a piece of equipment that sprays seeds and fertilizer.
Frey, owner of Sweet Valley Landscaping, called state police in Shickshinny on
Tuesday to report that his stolen hydroseeder was parked behind ABC Auto Parts
in Hunlock Township. An officer arrived at the parking lot and ran a VIN number
check on the hydroseeder, which was flagged as stolen.
The officer spoke with
Mark Spencer, owner of ABC Auto Parts, and Sherry Petroski, a clerk, on Wednesday
about the hydroseeder. They said Olshefski towed the hydroseeder into the lot
and sold it to them for scrap for $638. They provided officers with a copy of
Olshefskis receipt, which listed Olshefskis license plate number.
The stolen hydroseeder was returned to Frey.
Olshefski was arrested Wednesday
and charged with one count of receiving stolen property and one count of theft
by unlawful taking. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility,
unable to pay the $100,000 bail set by Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker.
His preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m. May 21 before Magisterial District Judge
couple arrested following alleged altercation
Jory Heckman - Citizens
Police arrested a Nanticoke couple after they say a verbal argument
eventually became physical.
Nanticoke police arrested Joseph Gushock Jr., 32,
and Brooke Graff, 23, both of 45 Enterprise St., for a domestic dispute in which
both allegedly engaged in physical fighting after they started shouting at each
Officers arrived at the residence around 11:15 p.m. Saturday, where
Gushock told police that Graff, his girlfriend, had punched him in the face during
an argument. Police found Graff inside crying, and she told them Gushock had spit
on her and pushed her, causing her to bang her head, police said. Graff declined
Police advised both Graff and Gushock to obtain protection
from abuse orders and were given the necessary paperwork. Officers returned to
the scene at 12:18 a.m. Sunday and saw Graff throwing Gushock's personal belongings
out of the house as they continued screaming at each other, police said. Graff
then threw a box at Gushock, which injured his right shoulder, police said. Graff
then told police that Gushock had pushed her over after they had left. Both were
taken into custody.
Both Gushock and Graff were charged with one count of simple
assault, one count of disorderly conduct, and one count of harassment. They were
jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of the $25,000 bail
set by Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker. Their preliminary hearing
is set for 1 p.m. May 14 before Whittaker.
charged in burglary testifies against brother, boyfriend
woman facing charges in connection with a Thanksgiving burglary in Nanticoke testified
against her brother and her boyfriend Monday.
Police said Janice Hempel's boyfriend,
Earl Hoopingarner, 28, hatched the plot about midday Thanksgiving last year to
target 201 Enterprise St., the home of Krystle Lampman. With Janice Hempel's brother,
Shane Hempel, serving as a lookout, Hoopingarner ransacked and looted the home's
valuables just after 10 p.m., police said.
After waving her preliminary hearing
Monday, Janice Hempel, 23, of 220 Enterprise St., testified that her brother and
boyfriend came home the night of the burglary with duffle bags of jewelry and
other items, and Hoopingarner gave her a Pandora bracelet from one of the bags.
She said prosecutors did not offer her anything in exchange for her testimony.
District Judge Donald Whittaker sent Janice Hempel's charges to the Court of Common
Pleas and gave her $100,000 unsecured bail.
She was jailed in December after
being charged with receiving stolen property and conspiracy. In January, she told
police she didn't want to sit in jail anymore for crimes her brother and boyfriend
committed. She helped lead police to a rifle that went missing that day.
and Nanticoke police in December charged Hoopingarner and Shane Hempel with the
burglary and in February, after Janice Hempel spoke with police, the two men received
additional charges of theft, conspiracy to commit theft and two counts of receiving
Because Assistant District Attorney Michelle Hardik didn't
have a copy of Janice Hempel's written statement from January to give to the defense,
Whittaker stopped the hearing and continued it to 3 p.m. May 20.
and Shane Hempel remain jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Faculty, unable
to post $250,000 bail each.
Mountain Top man hit couple with his vehicle
Mountain Top man ran down a couple with his vehicle because he was jealous of
their relationship, police said.
Nanticoke police were called to the parking
lot of Luzerne County Community College around 3:30 p.m. Thursday for a report
of two men fighting - Jeffrey A. Golden II and Ryan Baker.
Police said Baker
and his girlfriend, Erica Gernhart, were walking in the parking lot when Golden,
19, of 995 Church Road, Mountain Top, swung at Baker while expressing dissatisfaction
over Baker's relationship with Gernhart.
Police said neither Baker nor Golden
had any marks on them, and the two men agreed to leave.
About 15 minutes later,
police were called to the parking lot of Weis Plaza. Gernhart was lying on the
ground in pain. Baker was nearby and appeared injured, police said.
police he and Gernhart were walking across Lower Broadway Street into the Weis
Plaza parking lot when Golden sped toward them in his vehicle. Golden swerved
at them, hitting both with his vehicle, then parked his car and ran away.
Golden took off into the woods, two witnesses stopped him, the affidavit said.
meant to hit her (Gernhart)," Golden said, according to the affidavit. "I
have to go. The police are coming to get me."
Another witness ran into
the woods after Golden and brought him back to the scene where he was arrested,
EMS transported Gernhart to the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical
Center to be treated for her injuries, according to police. Baker, who had abrasions
on his arms and hands, did not seek treatment.
Golden was charged Friday with
two counts each of aggravated and simple assault, two counts of stalking, disorderly
conduct and several summary driving offenses.
He was jailed at the Luzerne
County Correctional Facility, unable to post $20,000 bail set by Magisterial District
Judge Donald L. Whittaker. His preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. May 21 before
Woman stole over thousand dollars from West Pittston pizzeria
Nanticoke woman stole over a thousand dollars from a West Pittston pizzeria where
she worked, police said.
According to the affidavit file by the West Pittston
Borough Police Department:
Lori Deyo, 41, of 121 E. Broad St., was charged
Wednesday with theft and receiving stolen property for stealing $1,425 from Tomato
Heads Pizzeria at on Wyoming Avenue in West Pittston where she was the assistant
Police said Deyo took money out of the cash register 76 times between
March 10 and April 28.
When police questioned her at the police station May
1, she said, "Yes, I did it," and began to cry.
Joseph Lokuta, the
owner of Tomato Heads, said his computer system at the business sends an adjustment
detail report to his email every night, and as he reviewed a report on April 28,
he noticed Deyo had voided and compensated several orders that day hours after
they were picked up or delivered.
This prompted him to review a surveillance
footage, which showed Deyo take money from the cash register and walk away with
it when there were no customers in the store.
Deyo began working at the pizzeria
in October 2012 and was recently promoted to assistant manager.
to police that she would void or compensate orders, then take the money and put
it in her pocket or purse.
"I feel bad," she said as she explained
how she took the money.
She told police she stole the money to pay utility
bills, vehicle repairs, traffic citations and to buy sports equipment for her
Deyo remains free on $5,000 unsecured bail set by Magisterial
District Judge Joseph J. Carmody. Her preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m. May
21 before Carmody.
pleads guilty in police chase
A wanted man who led police on a wild chase last summer pleaded guilty Tuesday
in Luzerne County Court.
Zireek Rahim Gardner, 23, of Nanticoke, was facing
a jury trial when he admitted to one count each of reckless endangerment, flight
to avoid apprehension, accidents involving death or injury (not properly licensed)
and resisting arrest.
On Aug. 10, Gardner commandeered a friends car
and, unfazed by the jolt of a police Taser, crashed the vehicle into a truck and
then ran, leaving an injured man inside the crumpled Ford Taurus as he fled, according
to a police affidavit.
Gardner was a passenger in a car that was pulled over
by Newport Township Police Chief Jeremy M. Blank after the driver allegedly drove
through an emergency response area on West Kirmar Parkway at about 4:40 a.m.,
ignoring flares and a police officers order to stop.
Gardner gave a fake
name, Blank said, and later locked the rear door and was climbing toward the drivers
seat. Blank said he was able to reach in and strike Gardner with a Taser, but
Gardner managed to put the car into gear and drive away, toward an area filled
with emergency personnel and utility crews due to an earlier crash.
in pursuit, Gardner drove west at a high rate of speed, crashing into
the back of a parked utility truck about a quarter mile away, wedging the Ford
Taurus beneath the truck, according to an affidavit. As Blank pulled up, Gardner
climbed out of the drivers side window and ran. He was captured a short
time later after falling over a guard rail.
A front-seat passenger, David Johnson
Jr., was pinned in the wrecked Taurus and had to be extricated. He was treated
at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Plains Township, for injuries including
a broken palate. The utility truck driver, Larry Zoscin, was treated at Geisinger
for neck and back pain.
Gardner stated that he ran because he was wanted
by parole, Blank wrote, adding that a records search confirmed this, although
the nature of the alleged parole violation was not indicated.
guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 2009 in connection with the death of William
Bentley, who suffered a heart attack after Gardner punched him in the head during
a fight outside Schiels Family Market in March of that year.
must pay more than $4,800 in restitution to various parties. He was to be remanded
to SCI-Dallas pending sentencing before county Judge Michael Vough on July 11.
crash suspect's fate waiting on potential appeal
fate of a teenage fatal crash suspect is now in legal limbo as court officials
wait to see if Luzerne County prosecutors will appeal a ruling that shifted his
case to juvenile court.
Tyler Duda appeared in juvenile court for a hearing
Monday, the first business day since Luzerne County Judge Lesa Gelb removed the
17-year-old's case from the adult court docket on Friday.
Luzerne County Juvenile
Court Judge William Amesbury said he read Gelb's written opinion, but it's too
early for juvenile proceedings to proceed.
"The appeal process has not
passed," Amesbury said.
The judge postponed any future developments in
Duda's case until the appeal process runs its course. Prosecutors haven't said
what they plan to do.
Duda, who remains in custody in juvenile detention, is
accused of crashing into and dismembering 59-year-old Nickolas Zurilla while driving
72 mph on a residential Nanticoke street around 2:15 a.m. July 5 after taking
his mother's car without permission. He was 16 at the time.
Charged with third-degree
murder and related crimes, Duda spent five months in adult prison before placement
in juvenile detention.
In adult court, Duda faced a maximum penalty of 20 to
40 years in state prison. In juvenile court, he'd face a maximum placement until
Gelb said Duda deserves a chance at rehabilitation and doesn't belong
in a "criminal setting." A conviction of the murder charge in adult
court "would require that this young man serve a number of years in (state
prison) with an adult population," Gelb wrote. The judge wrote that there
is "no doubt" that the charges are severe, but she said she is "troubled"
by the fact that if she let the case remain in adult court, she would "deprive
a young man of the benefits" of rehabilitation.
case sent to juvenile court
teenage driver involved in a fatal crash that dismembered a Nanticoke man last
year must be tried in juvenile court, a Luzerne County judge ruled Friday.
Duda, 17, of Wyoming, had faced third-degree murder and related charges in adult
court. Duda is accused of crashing into and dismembering 59-year-old Nickolas
Zurilla while driving 72 mph on a residential Nanticoke street around 2:15 a.m.
July 5 after taking his mother's car without permission.
Luzerne County Judge
Lesa Gelb said Duda deserves a chance at rehabilitation and doesn't belong in
a "criminal setting."
A conviction of the murder charge in adult
court "would require that this young man serve a number of years in (state
prison) with an adult population," Gelb wrote.
"This court is keenly
aware that juveniles who are convicted and sentenced to a criminal setting are
likely to experience sexual assaults and violence directed at them," Gelb
After his arrest, Duda served five months in the Luzerne County Correctional
Facility before being transferred to a juvenile detention center, where he remains.
adult court, Duda faced a maximum penalty of 20 to 40 years in state prison. In
juvenile court, he'd face a maximum placement until age 21.
The ruling Friday
follows a hearing held last month on the defense's request to transfer the case
to juvenile court. Attorneys for Duda said "juvenile impulsivity" and
"poor decision making" led to the incident on West Union Street in Nanticoke
and not the malice standard that's required for a murder charge.
that there is "no doubt" that the charges are severe, but she said she
is "troubled" by the fact that if she lets the case remain in adult
court, she would "deprive a young man of the benefits" of rehabilitation.
County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said she is reviewing her options
to see if prosecutors could appeal Gelb's ruling.
man's death focus of investigation
Dauphin County Coroner's Office is investigating the death of a Luzerne County
man who went missing in December.
Gregory Wiepa, 61, of Nanticoke, was found
April 14 along the Susquehanna River in Middle Paxton Township, north of Harrisburg
in Dauphin County, according to the Dauphin County Coroner's Office.
was last seen Dec. 9, 2013. When he went missing, police and fire crews searched
for him in the area but only found his car, which was parked by railroad tracks
near Broadway Bridge.
Fire destroyed Wiepa's home 10 days before he went missing,
said Nanticoke police Chief Bill Shultz.
Shultz said state police in Dauphin
County recovered Wiepa's body and will do DNA tests to confirm his identity. The
body has been released to the family.
man hit with trespassing charges
Jory Heckman - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke man was charged Thursday for allegedly trespassing in an apartment complex's
laundry room in March.
Nanticoke police arrested Daryl Lowyn, 43, of 270 E.
Main St., at the Oplinger Towers apartment complex on March 23 after officers
said he was found intoxicated and sleeping on the floor of a fourth floor laundry
In surveillance footage of the apartment complex, police observed that
Lowyn had entered the basement entrance at about 2 a.m. He then took the elevator
to the fourth floor and knocked on the door of an apartment unit.
several trips from the apartment door to the laundry room, police said Lowyn urinated
in a washing machine, soiled himself, and wiped the mess on a plastic plant and
rug before falling asleep on the floor of the laundry room at approximately 3
Lowyn was charged with criminal trespass, burglary, institutional vandalism,
defiant trespass, criminal mischief, and public drunkenness. He was jailed Thursday
in lieu of the $25,000 bail set by Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker.
His preliminary hearing is set for 1:15 p.m. April 30 before Whittaker.
attorney: Case is first of its kind in county
current prosecution of a juvenile in adult court on murder charges for a fatal
car crash appears to be a first in Luzerne County history, the teenager's attorneys
wrote in court papers filed Tuesday.
Prosecutors should not be allowed to pursue
a third-degree murder charge because the teenager did not have any criminal intent
when he fatally struck and dismembered a man last July in Nanticoke. Attorneys
for 17-year-old Tyler Duda said "juvenile impulsivity" and "poor
decision making" led to the incident on West Union Street in Nanticoke and
not the malice standard that's required for a murder charge.
a tragic car accident and does not rise to the level of malice to support a third-degree
murder conviction," Duda's attorneys, Demetrius Fannick and Cheryl Sobieski-Reedy,
Prosecutors regularly pursue murder charges for shootings, stabbings
and beatings, but rarely, if ever, pursue a murder charge related to a car crash
and certainly not against a juvenile, they said.
"This instant case appears
to be our county's first," they wrote.
The attorneys are asking a judge
to dismiss the third-degree murder charge and move the case to juvenile court,
where prosecutors could pursue other charges like homicide by vehicle and involuntary
Duda, of Wyoming, is accused of crashing into and dismembering
59-year-old Nickolas Zurilla at 72 mph on a residential Nanticoke street around
2:15 a.m. July 5.
baby's death ruled homicide
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
death of a 2½-month-old infant at a Nanticoke home in February was ruled
a homicide, the Luzerne County Coroners Office said Tuesday.
police were dispatched to a residence at rear 340 E. Noble St. around 9:20 a.m.
Feb. 14 to investigate the death of Jaxon Eckrote, according to a press release
sent Feb. 17.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross performed an autopsy Feb.
15 at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and determined Eckrotes death was a
homicide by asphyxia. Coroner Bill Lisman signed the death certificate on April
Because Eckrotes death was ruled homicide, the coroners office
said it cannot provide additional information at this time.
On Feb. 15, Nanticoke
Police Capt. Robert Lehman, Luzerne County Detective Charles Balogh and Luzerne
County Assistant District Attorney Jenny Roberts were seen filing a sealed search
warrant at the Luzerne County Clerk of Courts Office regarding the case.
men were arrested Friday on charges they were peddling heroin and crack cocaine
from a residence on West Ridge Street.
Jeffrey Seiwell, 30, of East
Ridge Street, Nanticoke, was charged with two counts each of criminal conspiracy
with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance
and criminal use of communication facility and a single count of possession with
intent to deliver a controlled substance. He remained jailed Monday at the county
prison for lack of $200,000 bail.
Jake Robert Zdanowicz, 30, of West Ridge
Street, Nanticoke, was charged with three counts each of possession with intent
to distribute a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and
possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of criminal conspiracy with intent
to distribute a controlled substance and a single count of illegal possession
of a firearm by a convict. He remained jailed Monday for lack of $75,000 bail.
to the criminal complaints:
City police and the Luzerne County Drug Task Force
arraigned to buy heroin from Zdanowicz on Friday. Agents kept surveillance of
Zdanowicz and Seiwell as they resupplied their heroin stash, the complaints say.
searched Zdanowiczs residence and allegedly fpund a large amount of heroin
and crack cocaine, including a shotgun in a golf bag, according to the complaints.
hearings are scheduled on April 23 before District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke.
fatality suspect portraits emerge
Tyler Duda, 17, seeking move to juvenile
portraits of vehicular homicide suspect Tyler Duda emerged Monday during a hearing
on whether his case should be moved to juvenile court.
The 17-year-old, accused
of causing the crash that killed a Nanticoke man last summer, sat quietly before
Luzerne County Judge Lesa Gelb, fidgeting occasionally as a social worker described
him as a young man who suffers from depression, mood disorders and poor impulse
control, who struggled with the early loss of his biological father and who reportedly
told a psychologist last fall that ending up in jail was probably the best
thing that ever happened to him.
But cross-examination and other testimony,
including that of a parole officer, portrayed a Duda as a troubled and rebellious
youth whose school record was pockmarked by poor grades and disciplinary issues,
who earlier landed himself in juvenile court following a fight with his mother,
who allegedly was cited for underage drinking violating a probationary
curfew in the process and who repeatedly has told examiners that he does
not need therapy.
After an all-day hearing Monday, Gelb will continue to hear
testimony when proceedings resume this morning.
Duda was 16 at the time of
the July 5 incident that left Nicholas Zurilla, 59, dead after he was struck by
an SUV outside his home at 340 W. Union St.
Luzerne County District Attorney
Stefanie Salavantis has said Duda, of Kingston Township, took his mothers
2013 Ford Edge without her knowledge and was out joy riding with Donald Kinney
Jr., 16, in Nanticoke on the way to visit a female friend.
A state police reconstruction
of the crash alleges Duda was traveling in excess of 70 mph when he struck Zurilla,
arrest papers say. The speed limit on West Union Street is 25 mph.
pleaded not guilty to charges of homicide by vehicle, third-degree murder, accidents
involving death, driving without a license, speeding, reckless driving and failing
to stay in lane.
He was released to a juvenile detention facility on Feb. 8
when Gelb modified his $1 million bail to unsecured.
Dudas lawyers, Luzerne
County First Assistant Public Defender Demetrius Fannick and Public Defender Cheryl
A. Sobeski-Reedy, have said the juvenile justice system will provide treatment,
rehabilitation and supervision for which Duda is a proper candidate because of
his age, mental capacity, maturity level and adolescent decision-making abilities.
District Attorneys Mamie Phillips and Stephen Lentz appeared for the prosecution.
driver wants murder case moved to juvenile court
attorneys for a 16-year-old driver accused of dismembering a Nanticoke man during
a high-speed collision fail to convince a Luzerne County judge to move the case
to juvenile court, the teenager could face decades in prison.
attorneys, Cheryl A. Sobeski-Reedy and Demetrius Fannick, requested a decertification
hearing in an attempt to get the case transferred into juvenile court, arguing
he has a better chance of being rehabilitated in a juvenile detention center than
in an adult prison.
Charged as an adult, Duda, now 17, pleaded not guilty Feb.
14 to third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle and related charges.
Wyoming, is accused of crashing into 59-year-old Nickolas Zurilla at 72 mph on
a residential Nanticoke street around 2:15 a.m. July 5, severing Zurilla's legs
and torso before crashing into a house.
If the case is transferred to juvenile
court, where he could remain in detention until age 21, Duda is eligible for treatment
programs regardless of his charges, Sobeski-Reedy said.
He was moved to a juvenile
detention facility after spending five months in adult jail unable to post $1
million bail until Luzerne County Judge Lesa S. Gelb granted him unsecured bail
Feb. 18 under the stipulation that he be released to a juvenile facility in Northampton
Assistant District Attorney Mamie Phillips said Duda has had 14 write-ups
since he went to the detention center and that he was "not receptive"
to therapy he received at KidsPeace, where he was held before the July 5 accident
because he violated his curfew while he was on probation for a simple assault
against his mother.
Mike Weaver, treatment specialist at the State Correctional
Institution in Pine Grove, which is where Duda will go if he's tried as an adult,
testified the 15- to 24-month-long boot camp-style leadership development program
at the prison is "built to take on juvenile offenders."
was the prosecution's witness, said there are also educational, trade and therapy
options at the prison to help rehabilitate Duda.
Duda's stay in the leadership
program would last only until Duda graduated from it, then he would be placed
in the adult population of the prison.
Psychologist Ned Delaney said, however,
he believes there are better alternatives.
Delaney saw Duda weekly from September
to January for therapy sessions. Duda had told him incarceration has made him
realize he is responsible for taking someone's life, which Delaney sees as being
responsible in itself.
"The boy I met in September was a young man in
January," he said.
The prison can provide treatment only to modify Duda's
behavior, he said. What Duda really needs is a program that puts him in a therapeutic
environment to set a foundation from an introspective point of view so he can
become a contributing member of the community, he said.
Duda admitted to Delaney
that jail was the best place for him right now to get him off the "wrong
road," but although incarceration might have helped Duda, Delaney recommends
"He showed he could change," he said.
is scheduled to continue at 9 a.m. today before Gelb.
ordered to stay away from most cemeteries
thief Scott Wylie is no longer allowed where other people are dying to go.
Luzerne County judge on Friday banned Wylie from entering any cemetery unless
he's visiting the grave of a "loved one."
Wylie, 27, was in court
for sentencing after pleading guilty in February to a theft charge related to
him stealing 500 feet of fencing, fence posts and rails, and two gates from the
Newport Township Cemetery in Newport Township.
Luzerne County Judge Michael
T. Vough determined the 214 days Wylie had already spent jailed for the crime
was sufficient. Wylie was jailed from March 14 to Dec. 13 after he was arraigned
by Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker, of Nanticoke, who ordered Wylie
in prison on $100,000 cash bail.
While on parole for the next year and five
months, Wylie must attend the county's Day Reporting Center, a facility in Wilkes-Barre
that nonviolent drug offenders attend for court-mandated drug-and-alcohol testing
and treatment plans, Vough ruled.
Wylie, whose last known address is 219 W.
South St. in Nanticoke, stole the cemetery's fencing to get money to buy synthetic
marijuana, Newport Township police said at the time of his arrest. Wylie told
police he was addicted to the drug, arrest papers say.
According to a police
affidavit, officers received a tip that Wylie was heard talking about fencing
and selling it to ABC Auto Parts in Hunlock Township. Police went there and found
the missing fencing, police said. Workers at the facility said Wylie often came
to sell metal and had just came days earlier with an "unusual" 500-pound
In addition to being banned from cemeteries, Wylie must pay $7,000 restitution
to the Newport Township Cemetery Association, Vough ruled.
suspect arrested in 'Operation Shape Up' investigation waives his preliminary
against the last of 18 suspects arrested as part of an eight-month investigation
into a major drug-trafficking organization that allegedly imported mass quantities
of drugs into Luzerne County were bound over for court Thursday.
raided two Hazle Street businesses in Wilkes-Barre, Master Barber Shop and Idely's
Furniture, on June 27, 2013 as part of the investigation, arresting five, and
rounded up the others on July 1, 2013 - except for one.
Rafael A. Medina-Colon,
40, of 315 Allen St., Hazleton, was arrested March 21 after being on the run for
almost a year. He waived his preliminary hearing Thursday and agreed to enter
a guilty plea to delivery of cocaine and criminal use of a communication device.
In exchange, conspiracy to deliver cocaine, another count of possession with intent
to deliver and two charges related to corrupt organizations were dismissed.
to investigators, the barbershop owner, Ramon A. Colon, 26, is the leader of the
conspiracy, responsible for bringing large quantities of cocaine, marijuana and
methamphetamine from New York City to sell in Luzerne County.
All 18 suspects
were charged with multiple offenses, including drug distribution, felony conspiracy,
criminal use of a communication facility and working as a corrupt organization.
to the 162-page affidavit filed in court by detectives with the state Attorney
General's Office, authorities began investigating in the winter of 2012 into an
operation of smuggling drugs and firearms for distribution in the Plymouth
and Nanticoke areas of the county.
The investigation - called "Operation
Shape Up" after the barbershop - initially centered on John Allan Miller,
26, of 115 Downing St., Plymouth, and his associates, the affidavit says. A confidential
informant provided police with information about "mid- to upper-level drug
traffickers," and initiated a controlled buy of cocaine from Miller on April
24, 2013, when the informant reported Miller had five ounces of cocaine at his
residence, the affidavit says.
The informant went on to buy about 11 ounces
of cocaine from Miller during seven controlled buys, spurring a massive investigation
replete with high-tech surveillance and information from other informants, the
Like Miller, Medina-Colon was one of Colon's customers who
would buy several ounces of cocaine from him at a time. Deputy Attorney General
Timothy Doherty said he wasn't picked up during the raids because he was on the
run. Investigators passed along information to the National Crime Information
Center after Medina-Colon had eluded authorities, and when he applied for a job
in the area, investigators were able to pick him up on the warrant.
remains jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, unable to post $1
million bail set by Magisterial District Judge Roberts. Roberts told Medina-Colon's
Spanish interpreter that he would be willing to reduce his bail to $500,000, but
Medina-Colon's attorney, Joseph J. Yeager, had straighten out a detainer Immigration
and Naturalization Service had on him that might get him deported to the Dominican
Doherty said all cases have been assigned to Luzerne County Judge
Lesa S. Gelb. He said eight have already pleaded guilty, and today, he is meeting
with three other defendants to determine whether they too will enter guilty pleas.
for those who plead guilty is set for May 23, he said.
Township police seek robbery suspect
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
Township police are searching for a man they say robbed a Nanticoke man of the
contents of his wallet and pain medication outside of a Turkey Hill late Sunday
Michael Faux reported to police that he stopped at the convenience store
at Carey Avenue and Division Street just before midnight, parking in the Spinning
Wheel restaurant parking lot. When he returned to his car, a man pressed something
against his back and took $30 and gift cards worth about $50 from Faux's wallet,
according to police. The man also took three pain medication prescriptions from
the center console of Faux's car.
The suspect left on foot and crossed the
closed bridge on Division Street next to the store, police said. Faux described
the man as wearing a hat, black hooded sweatshirt and dark blue jeans, police
Anyone with information can call Hanover Township police at 570-825-1254.
Nanticoke man charged with trespassing, assault
Jacob Seibel - Citizens
A Nanticoke man pushed his way into the
Glen Lyon home of a woman he used to have sex with to beat up another man on Sunday,
Eric B. Legins, 27, of 118 Oak St., was charged with burglary,
criminal trespassing, simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct after
Newport Township police said he assaulted the woman's male friend. When the woman
tried to stop Legins, he punched her in the head, police said. The woman told
police she had a sexual relationship with Legins in the past, and she believed
he was jealous that she was there with another man.
Legins was jailed at the
Luzerne County Correctional Facility, unable to post $25,000 set by Magisterial
District Judge Joseph A. Halesey.
charged with violating PFA
police early Saturday filed charges against a city resident after a domestic dispute.
said officers were dispatched to an Apollo Circle address at about 5:40 a.m. on
the report of a protection-from-abuse violation.
According to police, Corey
James Kittle, 20, of West Broad Street, saw an ex-girlfriend at a party in the
400 block of East Main Street. The ex-girlfriend then decided to leave "after
observing Kittle's presence," but he followed her outside before getting
into a verbal argument with her, police said. Police said Kittle left, but returned
between 4 and 4:30 a.m., again having "verbal communication with her."
protection-from-abuse order was filed March 11 and will not expire until next
year. Kittle is charged with indirect criminal contempt of protection-from-abuse
and was jailed at Luzerne County Correctional Facility on $2,000 bail.
in high-speed chases reaches plea agreement
Nanticoke man accused of leading police on two separate high-speed chases on the
same night with a pregnant woman in the car will not face a child endangerment
charge as part of a plea agreement with state police on Wednesday.
on Jan. 15 charged James Michael Hughes, 26, of 287 State St., with endangering
the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, unauthorized
use of a vehicle, resisting arrest, fleeing police and 13 summary traffic offenses,
alleging Hughes put Brandy Peters and her unborn child at risk by fleeing from
Newport Township police first encountered Hughes at about 12:40 a.m.
Dec. 5, when he refused to pull over for an officer while driving southbound on
Interstate 81 near the Nuangola exit, according to a police affidavit filed in
The officer ended the pursuit after the vehicle, a red GMC Jimmy, exited
onto Blue Ridge Trail, police said.
A state trooper spotted the vehicle a little
more than an hour later turning into the Walden Park housing development, police
said. Hughes tried to make a U-turn but was blocked by the police cruiser, the
affidavit said. Hughes then sped down Walden Drive, his vehicle straddling the
double yellow line, police said.
The officer chased the vehicle through the
development and into the back yard of a home on Red Coat Lane, until the driver
lost traction on an embankment along Colony Drive, according to police.
said the vehicle slid down the embankment, but Hughes continued driving for about
a quarter mile until the vehicle got stuck on a downed tree.
Hughes then fled
the scene through the woods in an unknown direction, leaving behind his passenger,
Peters, police said.
Peters, who at the time was seven months pregnant, told
troopers Hughes is her boyfriend's cousin. Hughes had called and asked her to
give him a ride, but when she arrived at a Nanticoke house to get him, he insisted
on driving and took the keys from her, police said.
Peters told police she
thought Hughes fled from officers because he might have had drugs or weapons in
Magisterial District Judge Ronald W. Swank set Hughes' bail
from $30,000 to $5,000 straight cash bail after he waived his preliminary hearing
Hughes' attorney Allyson L. Kacmarski said he also has a federal
detainer for aiding and abetting, but didn't know the details because another
attorney was assigned to the case and the affidavit was sealed. Because federal
cases often take precedence over local ones, she said, Hughes might end up being
jailed somewhere other than Luzerne County Correctional Facility until he has
his day in court.
man accused of kicking officer
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke man kicked a Hanover Township officer in the leg numerous times as he
was being arrested on drug charges, police said.
Tyler J. Degraffenreid, 20,
of 105 E. Union St., was charged with aggravated and simple assault against law
enforcement, resisting arrest, possession with intent to deliver and possession
of a controlled substance after he kicked an officer five times in the leg and
once in the waist, according to an affidavit.
Degraffenreid was sitting in
his car for awhile in the parking lot of Kentucky Fried Chicken on Oxford Street,
Hanover Township, on Monday night when police went to see why he wasn't there
Police found about 10 Suboxone pills in Degraffenreid's pocket when
they searched him.
When Degraffenreid was handcuffed and told he was under
arrest, he turned and kicked the officer five times in the lower left leg and
once in the waist. Police subdued him with a stun gun.
Degraffenreid was jailed
Monday at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, unable to post $75,000 straight
cash bail set by Magisterial District Judge Joseph Zola.
Nanticoke man awarded new trial
Richard Shaw was sentenced to 2-4 years in
state Superior Court has declined to hear an appeal by prosecutors of an appellate
court ruling that vacated a Nanticoke mans sentence in a 2011 marijuana
Richard Shaw, 30, was sentenced in November 2012 by Luzerne County Judge
Joseph Sklarosky Jr. to two to four years in state prison after a jury convicted
him of marijuana trafficking and possession offenses.
State parole agents found
Shaw inside a residence on East Main Street, Nanticoke, with marijuana and a scale
on Feb. 25, 2011.
Shaws attorney, Nanda Palissery, appealed the conviction
to the state Superior Court, which vacated the sentence and remanded the case
for a new trial.
Prosecutors appealed the Superior Courts ruling to the
Supreme Court, which declined to hear the appeal.
What does this mean for Shaw?
said the recent ruling by the Supreme Court upholds the decision by the Superior
Court for a new trial.
Obviously, (prosecutors) have no evidence against
Mr. Shaw, Palissery said. Im going to say (prosecutors) will
have to nolle pros the case. Nolle pros means to abandon or discontinue
Palissery said the appeal was based on evidence presented during
that trial should have been thrown out by Sklarosky.
According to court documents,
state parole agents went to an apartment on East Main Street, Nanticoke, on Feb.
25, 2011, and found Shaw and marijuana and contraband. As agents escorted a handcuffed
Shaw to a bedroom to put his shoes on, Shaw allegedly swept aside a pile of clothes
with his foot, revealing a small bag of marijuana, documents say.
A more detailed
search uncovered more marijuana, according to court documents.
Prior to trial,
Palissery tried to have the alleged evidence suppressed, claiming the search was
illegal because state parole agents and Nanticoke police had no reasonable
suspicion that illegal activity was taking place inside the residence.
Court in its ruling stated the warrantless arrest of Shaw was illegal and evidence
obtained from the search was the fruit of the poisonous tree, sending
the case back to Luzerne County for a new trial.
District Attorney Stefanie
Salavantis, in response to the Supreme Court Ruling, said her office is left
without a choice but to dismiss the charges.
Salavantis said she is disappointed
with the decision but nonetheless respects the ruling and will abide by it.
State police Friday filed drug charges
against Heather Rittenhouse, 28, of Nanticoke in connection with a burglary on
July 4 in Fairmount Township.
Rittenhouse was a passenger in a yellow 2000
Volkswagen Beetle stopped on U.S. Route 11, by state police. The car was suspected
to be involved in the burglary, state police said. Rittenhouse provided a false
name and did not produce identification for state police, state police said. She
was released at the time.
On July 8 state police secured a search warrant and
seized hypodermic needles, a silver spoon, a red straw and numerous empty packets
with residue in the magazine pocket behind the passengers side seat where
Rittenhouse was sitting. Also seized were items reported stolen during the burglary.
residue in the packets was later tested and identified as methamphetamine and
cocaine, state police said.
Rittenhouse was charged with possession of a controlled
substance possession of drug paraphernalia and providing false identification
to law enforcement. She was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker, Nanticoke
and committed to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $50,000
man faces drug charges
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke man was caught with 11 ounces of marijuana in the backseat of his car
in Kingston, police said.
William L. Jimmerson Jr., 27, of 134 Orchard St.,
was charged with possession with intent to deliver, criminal use of a communication
facility, possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.
narcotics detectives sent a confidential informant to the CVS parking lot at 401
Market St. around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday to see whether Jimmerson had 12 ounces
of marijuana on him, the affidavit says.
The informant gave police the signal
that the marijuana was there in Jimmerson's car, and they moved in to arrest Jimmerson,
according to the affidavit.
After he was taken into custody, Jimmerson told
police the marijuana was in a backpack in the backseat of his car, the affidavit
Jimmerson was jailed Wednesday at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility,
unable to post $15,000 cash bail set by Magisterial District Judge Joseph A. Halesey.
Nanticoke man attacked girlfriend with boot
Jacob Seibel - Citizens
A Nanticoke man struck his girlfriend with
a motorcycle boot shortly after he pulled her out of bed and punched her numerous
times, police said.
John B. Chapman, 48, of 416 Front St., was charged with
aggravated and simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, harassment
and disorderly conduct after he came home from drinking all night Sunday and got
into an argument with his girlfriend because she didn't go out with him, according
to Nanticoke police.
Chapman's girlfriend said after being hit with the boot,
she blacked out and couldn't remember anything until Nanticoke EMS arrived, according
to the affidavit. Police said she had red marks and bruises on her, as well a
bite mark on her right hand.
Chapman was jailed Monday at the Luzerne County
Correctional Facility, unable to post $75,000 bail set by Magisterial District
Judge Donald L. Whittaker.
Two arrested in Nanticoke raid for drug trafficking
Nanticoke man was flushing his heroin stash down the toilet when authorities raided
his home and arrested him and his roommate for drug trafficking, according to
Dwayne A. Myers, 35, of 274 Appollo Circle, and Lisa M. St.
George, 32, of the same address, were each charged with 18 counts of possession
with intent to deliver, multiple counts of possession of a controlled substance
and multiple counts of drug paraphernalia.
Nanticoke police and the Luzerne
County Drug Task Force had been investigating heroin sales at Myers' residence
since March 7 after receiving neighbor complaints about the amount of foot and
vehicular traffic into the apartment, the affidavit says.
With the three controlled
buys along with the complaints and surveillance operations, authorities obtained
and executed a search warrant Friday evening, police said.
An officer thought
he had heard the slide of handgun being pulled back behind the door of the second
floor bathroom where Myers locked himself inside, so another officer kicked in
the door, the affidavit says. Police found several small rubber bands, which police
say are used to bundle bags of heroin together, and the top of a knotted plastic
bag, the affidavit says.
When police searched the apartment, they said they
found two bags of heroin, numerous pills and $1,105.
St. George told police
that Myers had moved in about two weeks before and was supposed to pay her rent
in exchange for allowing him stay there and sell heroin from the apartment, the
Myers admitted to police he had been selling heroin with St.
George for about two weeks and that St. George would set up the deals, the affidavit
says. He admitted to selling two bricks and two bundles of heroin in the past
two weeks, according to the affidavit.
Both were jailed Saturday at the Luzerne
County Correctional Facility, unable to post $100,000 bail each set by Magisterial
District Judge Alexandra K. Kravitz. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled
for 1 p.m. today before Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker.
Nanticoke man forged prescriptions
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
City police are searching for a Nanticoke man wanted on three active felony warrants
for acquiring a controlled substance by fraud, forgery and related charges, police
Marc Zawadzki, 40, last known address at 1253 Center St., entered into
CVS pharmacy on Kennedy Boulevard on Feb. 26 and used a falsified prescription
in an attempt to get painkillers, but fled the area prior to police arrival, according
to a press release from the Pittston City Police Department.
Zawadzki is facing
12 felony counts of acquiring a controlled substance for getting Vicodin and Oxycodone
prescriptions filled, courts records show.
He successfully filled prescriptions
at Advanced Pharmacy Services at 220 S. River St., Plains Township, according
to an affidavit.
Pharmacist technician Robert Klinger said he learned of the
fraudulent prescriptions on Feb. 2 after Zawadzki gave the pharmacy a prescription
for another person with the date whitened out, the affidavit says.
identified Zawadzki from a photo lineup on Feb. 27, a day after he fled from CVS,
and police said neither of the doctors listed as the prescribers had issued the
Zawadzki had also been charged on Jan. 2 with burglary when
he broke into the home of his sister-in-law, Helene Zawadzki, in Swoyersville
and stole two aquamarine rings and about $1,000 in cash from a safe, according
to court records.
Jewelry had also been stolen from numerous boxes in her
dresser, and a shotgun was also missing, police said. Helene Zawadzki told police
her former brother-in-law, Marc Zawadzki, had a drug problem, the affidavit says.
Zawadzki has yet to be arraigned and is awaiting a preliminary hearing before
Magisterial District Judge Diana Malast.
Anyone with any information on Zawadzkis
whereabouts can contact the Pittston City Police Department at 570-654-2425 or
man charged with attempted luring
said a Nanticoke man tried to lure a girl into his car and later was subdued with
a Taser after refusing to drop a piece of glass he held to his neck while in custody.
Monaco, 51, was arraigned on 17 charges: luring a child into a motor vehicle,
disorderly conduct, harassment, simple assault, terroristic threats, resisting
arrest and recklessly endangering another person. He was committed to the Luzerne
County Correctional Facility for lack of $25,000 bail.
According to police:
group of boys and girls was standing at the corner of Mill and North Main streets
around 6:30 p.m. Friday when a blue Kia automobile pulled up. The man driving
the car put down a window and asked if they were waiting for a bus. He got out
of the car and told one of the girls several times to get inside.
were frightened and walked away, but the man got back into the car and, while
cursing and threatening them, followed them. The man again told the girl whom
he earlier ordered to get in his car to do the same, but she yelled for him to
leave and he drove off.
The juveniles provided police a description of the
car and driver, the license plate and the direction of travel. Police located
the car and the driver at a local bar and identified the suspect as Monaco. He
was taken into custody and placed in a holding cell at police headquarters while
waiting to be taken to a district judge for an arraignment.
a surveillance camera of the cell, police saw Monaco smash a light and pick up
a piece of broken glass. He held it to his neck and threatened to cut himself.
Several times police ordered Monaco to drop the glass, but he refused to comply.
used a Taser to subdue him an placed him in handcuffs. He was treated by Pittston
EMS and taken to a local hospital. Upon his release he was taken to the county
His preliminary hearing is at 1:30 p.m. March 5 before District Judge
Alexandra Kokura Kravitz in Pittston.
Nanticoke man tried to lure girl into car
Nanticoke resident was arrested Friday after allegedly following a juvenile female
in hopes of luring the girl into his car.
Pittston police said officers were
dispatched to a Mill Street address on the report of a man attempting to lure
girls into his car. Police said a victim was approached by the man, who was driving
a blue Kia, at about 6:30 p.m. Friday.
According to police, the man, later
identified as Robert Monaco, allegedly asked a group of juvenile girls if they
were waiting for the bus. The man then told one of the girls to get in his car,
After repeatedly telling the girl to get inside his car, the girls
became frightened and walked away, which is when Monaco allegedly followed them
with his car, yelling and cursing at them, police said.
According to police,
Monaco was later located at a local bar after officers were provided with a description
of the man and his Pennsylvania vehicle registration.
While in a holding cell,
Monaco was seen on camera smashing a light and placing a piece of the light bulb
on his neck, threatening to cut himself, police said.
According to police,
officers used a stun gun on Monaco after he refused to drop the glass. Police
handcuffed him before he was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
charges refiled against two men
will cost two men more bail money if they want to be released from the Luzerne
County Correctional Facility.
Bail originally set at $25,000 each for Shane
Hempel, 25, and Earl Hoopingarner, 28, on Dec. 21 was increased to $250,000 each
when they were recharged by city and state police at Wyoming on Wednesday with
ransacking a house on Enterprise Street on Nov. 29.
Authorities gathered evidence
of the burglary during the homicide investigation of Gertrude Price, 97, who was
found beaten to death inside her home on East Grand Street on Nov. 29.
police Lt. Richard Krawetz said Thursday the investigation into Prices homicide
is progressing. He would not state the reason for the higher bail for Hempel and
Hoopingarner, noting bail is set by the district judge.
Krawatz said city and
state police decided to withdraw the initial set of burglary charges against the
two men when additional evidence was gathered that led to more charges.
and Hoopingarner were arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker on burglary,
criminal conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property and theft charges. Hoopingarner
was further charged with identity theft, receiving stolen property, access device
fraud and criminal attempt.
Price had last spoken to family at about 10:20
p.m. Nov. 28, Thanksgiving Day. It was reported to authorities that lights were
on inside her home at about 11 p.m. Authorities believe Price was killed at about
10:45 p.m. by someone who forced open a basement window and ransacked the house.
the burglary case, authorities allege Hoopingarner and Hempel ransacked the house
on Enterprise Street, which is about 10 blocks away from Prices house. Items
stolen were a Greater Nanticoke Area class ring, jewelry, beer, a rifle, digital
cameras, computer paper, dog food and a credit card, according to the criminal
Hoopingarner used the stolen credit cards at several stores in
the area, the complaints say.
Shane Hempels sister, Janice Hempel, 23,
of Nanticoke, was charged with receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy.
charges filed in Nanticoke Thanksgiving burglary
Jacob Seibel -
Facing charges in connection with
a Thanksgiving burglary at 201 Enterprise St. in Nanticoke, Janice Hempel recently
told police that she didn't want to sit in jail anymore for crimes her brother
and boyfriend did, so she decided to try to help lead police to stolen goods that
went missing that day.
Arrest papers say Hempel's boyfriend, Earl Hoopingarner,
28, hatched the plot about midday Thanksgiving to target the home of Krystle Lampman,
29, that night. With Janice Hempel's brother, Shane Hempel, serving as a lookout,
Hoopingarner ransacked and looted the home valuables just after 10 p.m., police
In an interview with police, Shane Hempel, 25, described how Hoopingarner
was "tearing things up" and collecting items in a bed sheet that he
eventually tied and carried away like a sack, according to police.
Jan. 18 told investigators the about a pawnshop in the area where Hoopingarner
sold a television, jewelry and a rifle that were stolen from Lampman's home, and
authorities were able to track down the gun.
State and Nanticoke police in
December charged Hoopingarner and Shane Hempel with the burglary, and on Thursday,
Hoopingarner and Shane Hempel received additional charges of theft, conspiracy
to commit theft and two counts of receiving stolen property.
Shane Hempel are jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Faculty, unable to
post $250,000 bail each.
Janice Hempel, 23, of 220 Enterprise St., was charged
in December with receiving stolen property and conspiracy, but the affidavit gives
no indication that she is getting anything in return for the information she provided
authorities, and records she is still jailed at LCCF.
man charged with child porn possession
man charged with possessing child pornography allegedly told authorities his brain
acted like the devil and angel.
Josh Gensel, 31, of East Green Street, was
arrested Tuesday by the state Office of Attorney General on charges he downloaded
videos and pictures of children engaged in sex acts.
Gensel allegedly admitted
he preferred boys and girls from 7 to 13 years old, and used several software
sharing files to download the images.
Authorities allege in the criminal complaint
that Gensel stated he had downloaded child pornography for 12 years knowing he
would eventually be caught.
Gensel told authorities, Half of my brain
says that it isnt right and the other half says to look at it. It is the
devil and angel, the complaint says.
Gensel was arraigned by District
Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke on four counts of child pornography, two counts
of dissemination of children engaged in sex acts and a single count of criminal
use of communication facility. He remained jailed Wednesday at the Luzerne County
Correctional Facility for lack of $100,000 bail.
Authorities served a search
warrant at Gensels residence and found a laptop computer that allegedly
had four videos of suspected child pornography, the complaint says.
was arrested at his place of employment on Pierce Street in Kingston. When asked
why authorities wanted to speak with him, he replied, When the police come
to your house for your computers, it is because of child pornography, according
to the complaint.
Gensel allegedly told authorities he was involved in many
youth volunteer organizations but never had any sexual contact with children because
there were always other people around.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled
on Feb. 26.
man heading to jail turns over more drugs
Jacob Seibel - Citizens
A Nanticoke man was already arrested and
heading into the cell block when he handed an officer 200 bags of heroin he was
hiding, police said.
Jeffery Seiwell, 30, of 343 Ridge St., Nanticoke, is charged
with possession with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance,
paraphernalia and driving without a license.
Kingston police stopped Seiwell
around 2 a.m. Wednesday for a traffic violation. Seiwell told police he didn't
have a license and that the car was a rental, according to the affidavit, but
he wasn't on the rental agreement. Police asked him to get out of the car, and
as Seiwell did, an officer saw two bundles of heroin on the driver's floor, the
After Seiwell was taken to the police station, Seiwell told
officers that he had more heroin stuffed in his right boot, the affidavit says.
Police said they found 22 wax bags stamped with the word "transformers"
in red ink.
Police asked him if he had anything else on him, the affidavit
says. He said no, but when he was going into the cell block, Seiwell handed over
"a block of white wax paper bags stamped transformers" that had 200
bags of heroin in it taped together and said, "Here, I'm already going to
jail," according to the affidavit.
He is free on $5,000 bail, awaiting
a preliminary hearing for 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 26.
murder suspect will leave adult jail
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
teenage driver accused of dismembering a Nanticoke man during a high-speed collision
will move to a juvenile detention facility after spending five months in adult
jail because he was unable to post $1 million bail, a Luzerne County judge said
Judge Lesa S. Gelb granted Tyler Duda, 17, of Wyoming, unsecured bail
under the stipulation that he be released to a juvenile facility in Northampton
County. Gelb did not rule on whether the case would remain in adult court, where
Duda could face decades in prison, or be sent to juvenile court, where he could
remain in detention until age 21.
Duda is accused of crashing into Nickolas
Zurilla, 59, at 72 mph on a Nanticoke street around 2:15 a.m., July 5, severing
Zurilla's legs and torso before crashing into a house near where the man had been
crossing the street. Duda was 16 at the time.
Duda's attorney, Demetrius Fannick,
said forensic psychiatrist Richard Fishbein determined Duda is unfit for adult
jail, but Assistant District Attorney Mamie Phillips said prosecutors were not
given enough notice to prepare their own expert and needed more time before a
hearing on moving the case to juvenile court.
Duda pleaded not guilty last
week to third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle and related charges. Gelb set
a hearing for 9 a.m., April 14 on the juvenile court issue.
car driven into funeral home fence
Jacob Seibel - Citizens Voice
Plymouth man drove a stolen car into the fence of a funeral home on Sunday and
begged a witness not to call the cops, police said.
Anthony J. Spudis, 31,
of 73 Academy St., is charged with receiving stolen property, loitering, damaging
property and driving without a license.William Reese called police after Spudis
hit the fence at William A. Reese Funeral Chapel, 56 Gaylord Ave., at about 10
p.m., according to an affidavit. Spudis begged Reese not to call police, and fled
on foot when Reese told him he had to call, police said.
Police found that
the car Spudis drove was reported stolen from Nanticoke. Police said they
later found Spudis trying to get inside a shed in the backyard at 144 Gaylord
bail OKd in vehicular homicide case
Hearing to determine whether Dudas
case goes to juvenile court
teenage suspect in a crash that killed a Nanticoke man last summer was granted
unsecured bail on Tuesday, with a hearing scheduled on whether to transfer the
case to juvenile court.
Tyler Duda was 16 at the time of the July 5 incident
that left Nicholas Zurilla, 59, dead after he was struck by an SUV outside his
home at 340 W. Union St.
Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis
has said Duda, of Kingston Township, took his mothers 2013 Ford Edge without
her knowledge and was out joy riding with Donald Kinney Jr., 16, in Nanticoke
on the way to visit a female friend.
Duda was arraigned in September by District
Judge Donald Whittaker on charges of homicide by vehicle, third-degree murder,
accidents involving death, driving without a license, speeding, reckless driving
and failing to stay in lane.
Duda has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
now 17, originally was held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Luzerne County Judge
Lesa Gelb on Tuesday set unsecured bail, releasing Duda to juvenile probation.
He was to be held on an unrelated juvenile detainer, according to court records.
girl whom Duda and Kinney were en route to visit told police about a phone call
she said she had with Duda while he was driving that night.
While talking to
Duda, the girl told police, she heard Kinney tell Duda to slow down,
and then heard the crash that sent Zurilla through the Fords windshield
and knocked Kinney unconscious.
A state police reconstruction of the crash
alleges Duda was traveling in excess of 70 mph when he struck Zurilla, arrest
papers say. The speed limit on West Union Street is 25 mph.
Zurilla had been
sitting on the porch of his neighbor, Paul Murphy, at 341 W. Union St. As Murphy
was about to enter his house, Zurilla was crossing the street and said in a loud
voice, This car is going to hit me, according to arrest papers.
turned around and had seen a car, and a body in front of it going directly
upward and to the left, arrest papers say.
Judge Gelb also set an April
14 hearing date on whether the case against Duda can be transferred to juvenile
Court documents list Dudas legal team as First Assistant Public
Defender Demetrius Fannick and Assistant Public Defender Cheryl Sobeski-Reedy.
accused of killing pedestrian pleads not guilty
16-year-old driver accused of dismembering a Nanticoke man during a high-speed
collision in July pleaded not guilty Friday during his initial appearance in county
Tyler Duda appeared before Luzerne County Judge Fred A. Pierantoni for
his formal arraignment on third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle and related
On Tuesday, Pierantoni will preside over a hearing to determine whether
to move Duda's case to juvenile court and whether Duda's bail should be reduced.
remains jailed in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $1 million
Duda, of Wyoming, is accused of crashing into 59-year-old Nickolas Zurilla
at 72 mph on a residential Nanticoke street around 2:15 a.m. on July 5, severing
Zurilla's legs and torso before crashing into a house 467 feet from where Zurilla
had been crossing the street. Prosecutors say Duda took his mother's vehicle,
went to pick up a friend and was driving to another classmate's house when the
Township police at about 3:45 a.m. Saturday arrested a Nanticoke woman on several
charges after allegedly refusing to leave J.P. Mascaro & Sons at East Main
to police, Jennifer Lee Mieczkowski, 32, was involved in a reported domestic incident.
Police said Mieczkowski arrived at the location and after being told to leave,
Officers arrived shortly after and asked Mieczkowski to leave,
but after beginning to leave, she exited her vehicle and began yelling at a male
Police said the suspect was advised to leave several times and officers
struggled to handcuff her.
Mieczkowski is charged with defiant trespass, disorderly
conduct and resisting arrest.
hits dad with 2-by-4 in domestic incident
Josh Horton - Citizens
Police were called to a Nanticoke home
for a domestic dispute where a woman struck her father in the head with a 2-by-4,
Police arrived at 126 W. Washington St. for a physical domestic
between John Wojciechowski, 45, and his daughter, Kailey Wojciechowski, 18. Kimberly
Wojciechowski, John Wojciechowski's wife and Kailey Wojciechowski's mother, answered
the door when police arrived and appeared to be intoxicated, police said.
mother stated John Wojciechowski broke down Kailey Wojciechowski's door and began
striking her. Police reported red marks on Kimberly Wojciechowski's face in the
area of her left temple and right cheek.
Kailey Wojciechowski told police her
father was choking her mother and admitted to striking her father in the back
of the head with a 2-by-4. She told police she was protecting her mother, who
she said was turning blue.
John Wojciechowski told police his daughter's boyfriend
brought drugs to his wife and daughter and he asked him to leave.
is charged with two counts of simple assault, while Kailey Wojciechowski is charged
with simple assault and harassment. Both were arraigned before Magisterial District
Judge Diana Malast on Wednesday. Both are free on $1,000 unsecured bail and a
preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. Feb. 12.
accused of manufacturing methamphetamine
Josh Horton - Citizens
Two men and a woman from Luzerne County were
arrested and identified as methamphetamine manufacturers late Thursday night,
Kevin Jones, 32, of 152 Valley View Drive, Hunlock Township; Nicole
Booth, 20, of 127 Grand St., Nanticoke and James Hauer, 19, of 4 Thomas St., Nanticoke,
were arrested and charged with two counts of manufacturing with intent to deliver,
one count of possession of a controlled substance, three counts of possession
of red phosphorus with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, risking catastrophe,
illegal dumping of methamphetamine waste and conspiracy.
Jones was driving
a Ford Focus when police pulled him over. Jones, Booth and Hauer were taken into
custody without incident.
Police noticed a plastic bag containing isopropanol
antifreeze, iodine, hydrogen peroxide and packages of pseudoephedrine in plain
site. During a search of the vehicle, police found methamphetamine and more items
used to manufacture the drug, including red phosphorous, fuel, funnels, glassware.
Numerous containers containing unidentified liquids were also found, police said.
Booth and Hauer were unable to post bail and are currently lodged at Luzerne County
arrest delays sentencing for drug trafficker
sentencing hearing for a Nanticoke man who pleaded guilty to trafficking a party
drug from China was continued because of a new arrest.
Peter Sepling, 43, was
scheduled to be sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo,
but the judge continued Seplings sentencing hearing until April 15 based
on a request by attorney Joseph P. Nahas.
Nahas stated in court papers that
he was notified on Jan. 23 that his client, Sepling, was rearrested in another
matter and was jailed.
It could not be learned where Sepling was arrested.
Amanda Endy, secretary for the U.S. Attorneys Office, had no comment. Nahas
could not be reached for comment.
A review of court databases in Pennsylvania,
Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Ohio, and the federal court docket PACER for
recently filed criminal complaints for Sepling returned zero results on Thursday.
on Oct. 28 pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the trafficking of gamma butyrolactone
in April 2011. Under the terms of the guilty plea, Sepling maintained his right
to challenge whatever sentence is imposed.
Sepling and John Nikoloff, of West
Wyoming, were indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2011, after a parcel containing
1.1 kilograms of gamma butyrolactone was delivered to Nikoloffs address
on April 26, 2011.
U.S. Custom officers working at a DHL Courier facility in
Kentucky targeted a parcel from China to Nikoloff. The parcel was delivered by
an undercover state police trooper to Nikoloffs residence.
authorities he accepted the parcel on behalf of Sepling. He delivered it to Sepling
when they met later on April 26, 2011, on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston.
of Seplings residence uncovered 111 bottles of anabolic steroids and numerous
bottles of pills and liquids, court records state.
Nikoloff pleaded guilty
to conspiring to distribute a controlled substance. He was sentenced Nov. 25 to
two years probation.
woman faces trial in 2012 bar brawl
than two years after a bar brawl in Nanticoke that ended with a woman getting
her face slashed, the alleged primary aggressor will stand trial on several charges,
none of which are related to the slashing.
Melanie Figueroa, 22, of 140 Sharpe
St., Nanticoke, was charged in October with two counts each of simple assault
and harassment and one count each of disorderly conduct and purchasing alcohol
as a minor.
The charges stem from a Jan. 1, 2012, box-cutter slashing incident
that severely injured Jennifer Mieczkowski. Figueroa was not charged with being
the slasher, however.
"We could not prove that Melanie Figueroa was the
slasher," Nanticoke police Chief William Shultz said when her charges were
filed. "Our investigation revealed that was not the case."
to the police affidavit, officers were dispatched to the former Prospect Street
Cafe at 23 S. Prospect St. about 2 a.m. New Year's Day to a report of a brawl.
Among the injured was Mieczkowski, who suffered severe cuts to the face.
testified that at some point during the fight, Figueroa was hitting her with closed
fists. She said she then got on top of Figueroa and that someone else had hit
her in the back of the head.
After someone broke up the fight, Mieczkowski
said, "I stood up and blood started running down my face."
to cry and said, "Someone had slashed my face multiple times."
reported that several fights took place within the bar that night, but the first
began when Briana Engle, was assaulted, the affidavit says.
Figueroa told police
a bouncer had let her into the bar without checking her identification.
and two people who accompanied her to the bar, Justin and Shawn Eckrote, testified
that Figueroa was acting disorderly. Justin Eckrote suggested they leave and avoid
getting into an altercation, but just before they could, Figueroa came up behind
Engle and pulled her to the ground by the hair.
Figueroa beat Engle until Justin
Eckrote pulled her off, at which point Figueroa confronted Mieczkowski, who also
tried to intervene, Engle testified.
Engle, who was not hurt, said Figueroa
was the primary aggressor during the fight.
Magisterial District Judge Donald
L. Whittaker dismissed one count of simple assault because Engle had no reported
injuries. Figueroa will go to trial on the others.
plea entered in theft, trespassing
Nanticoke man pleaded guilty Monday in Luzerne County Court in connection with
two theft and trespassing cases from last summer.
Joshua G. Bobbin, 21, entered
the pleas before county Judge David W. Lupas.
According to investigators, on
July 16 Bobbin and another man cut the battery out of a recreational vehicle,
and fled in a vehicle registered at Bobbins address. The owners later identified
Bobbin from a photo line-up.
On July 18, police were dispatched to a burglary
in progress at a barn on Huntsville Road in Shavertown. Police said found one
suspect in the woods nearby who identified Bobbin as the other person with him.
must pay $360 restitution for the battery and $3,738 for the barn burglary and
will be sentenced in March.
charged after Nanticoke drug raid
Four Nanticoke residents are facing
dug trafficking charges after police raided a home across from Greater Nanticoke
Area High School on Thursday evening and found thousands of dollars in drugs.
say Irene Louis, 19, Khalif Jabar Gillespie, 24, Johnny Al Quara Jamison, 33,
and his brother, Lamarr Jamison, 27, all of 424 Kosciuszko St., are facing numerous
drug offenses after officers found some 500 packets of heroin worth $10,000 along
with 95 packets of crack cocaine, $5,000 in cash, drug paraphernalia and five
They were all loaded and ready to go, Nanticoke police Chief
William Shultz said.
Police and the Luzerne County Drug Task Force raided the
home at 424 Kosciuszko St. about 4:30 p.m. Thursday following a series of controlled
drug buys, he said.
Officers found Lamarr Jamison in possession of Diesel
heroin packets marked with a fuel dispenser, the same as packets sold to a confidential
informant, according to a police affidavit. Near him, police found bags of crack
stamped with a dinosaur or a blue rabbit, police said.
Police say they found
hundreds of dollars in documented buy money during the search.
All of the drugs,
cash and handguns were found in the area of Lamarr Jamison, Gillespie and Louis,
police said. Two revolvers were stolen, and Lamarr Jamison and Gillespie are convicted
felons, according to police.
Police charged all four with multiple counts of
possessing a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, drug possession
and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Louis, Lamarr Jamison and Gillespie were
also charged with counts of receiving stolen property, and Lamarr Jamison and
Gillespie were charged with possessing firearms as felons.
Judge Paul Roberts arraigned all four Friday morning and set their bail at $75,000.
They were being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with preliminary
hearings set for Feb. 5 at 1 p.m.
guns found in house across Greater Nanticoke Area schools
Lewis - firstname.lastname@example.org
Four people from
Newark, N.J., were arraigned Friday after authorities said they used a house in
a school zone to package and peddle a large amount of heroin, crack cocaine and
Police Chief Bill Shultz said city police and drug agents with the
Luzerne County Drug Task Force under the state Office of Attorney General quickly
reacted to shut down the drug haven at 424 Kosciuszko St. late Thursday
The house is located directly across the street from Greater Nanticoke
Area high school, middle school and elementary schools, and the recess yard for
Authorities said they found five loaded handguns, ammunition, 450
heroin packets in a shoe box, more than 50 heroin packets scattered in different
bedrooms, 95 bags of crack cocaine, a small amount of marijuana, two marijuana
grinders and smoking pipes, a marijuana water bong and nearly $5,000 throughout
the house, Shultz said.
This was a quick one, Shultz said. In
less than 24 hours, we were able to get a couple of (drug) buys out of there.
We got our buys that we needed and moved quick because of the school zone and
not knowing the individuals in the house.
Arrested from the house were:
Lamarr Jamison, 27, charged with eight counts of possession with intent to deliver
a controlled substance, four counts each of possession of a controlled substance,
receiving stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia, three counts of
illegal possession of a firearm and two counts of criminal use of communication
Johnny Al Quara Jamison, 33, charged with four counts of possession
with intent to deliver a controlled substance, three counts of possession of drug
paraphernalia, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and a single
count of possession of marijuana.
Khalif Jabar Gillespie, 24, charged
with four counts each of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance,
possession of a controlled substance and receiving stolen property, three counts
of illegal possession of a firearm, and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Irene Louis, 19, charged with four counts each of possession with intent to deliver
a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, receiving stolen
property and possession of drug paraphernalia.
They were arraigned by District
Judge Paul Roberts in Kingston, and all were jailed at the county correctional
institution for lack of $75,000 bail each.
The four are originally from Newark,
N.J., Shultz said.
Johnny Jamison was first to reside in the Kosciuszko Street
residence, with his brother Lamarr Jamison and his girlfriend, Louis, moving in
a few months ago. Gillespie is believed to have moved in a few weeks ago, Shultz
Shultz said Lamarr Jamison was the major dealer at the house.
state law, anyone convicted of selling illegal drugs within 1,000 feet of a school
faces a mandatory two-year prison sentence.
Court records from Essex County,
N.J., say Gillespie was sentenced in August to two years probation on a charge
he had narcotics in a school zone in May.
homicide case closed after suspect's death
Prosecutors have dropped
the case against homicide suspect Brandon Leigh Switzer after his unexpected death
earlier this month, according to court documents.
Switzer, 23, of 168 E. Union
St., Nanticoke, was charged with a single count of involuntary manslaughter in
the death of Zachary J. Williams, 23, of 135 Park St., Nanticoke.
he accidentally shot Williams, his close friend, while playing with a Beretta
9mm pistol at his friends house on Sherman Street in Wilkes-Barre on June
His obituary says Switzer died Jan. 3, but does not say how. Nanticoke
police Chief William Shultz said an ambulance was dispatched to his home that
day for a choking call and that Switzer was taken to an area hospital.
case was not handled as a police matter, he said.
We were not called
to that residence, Shultz said. We later found out that he died.
cause and manner of death are still pending the results of toxicology testing,
according to the Luzerne County Coroners Office.
arrested Switzer on June 25 after Williams was fatally shot in the head at 32
N. Sherman St.
Court documents say Switzer told police he brought the weapon
to his friends house and began playing with it along with Williams. The
pair loaded and unloaded the weapon, operated the slide and passed it back and
forth, according to police.
Switzer told investigators Williams handed the
weapon back to him at one point and he reloaded it, but then Williams asked to
see it again.
Switzer ejected the magazine and began to hand the weapon to
Williams when he remembered the gun had a round chambered, according to police.
Switzer told police he took the weapon and began to release the hammer with his
thumb when his thumb slipped and he shot Williams in the head.
pronounced dead at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township
later that day.
Police arrested Switzer at the scene and charged him with involuntary
manslaughter, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Switzer posted $250,000 bail through
a bondsman the next day and in August waived his right to a preliminary hearing,
with his attorney saying he had reached a tentative plea agreement with prosecutors
for what he termed a horrible accident.
Prosecutors on Thursday
moved to cease prosecution of the case because of Switzers death. The same
day, Luzerne County Judge David W. Lupas signed the order that the case be nolle
charged in West Side tire slashings
By James Halpin and Denise Allabaugh,
Staff Writers Citizens Voice
Four Luzerne County youths are implicated
in a series of tire slashings that hit West Side communities this week.
captured the four early Friday in connection with a vandalism spree in Wyoming,
West Pittston and Exeter on Thursday.
Wyoming authorities alone reported 24
vehicles had their tires slashed while parked along Moosic Street, Wyoming Avenue,
Atherton Avenue, Institute Street and the Midway Shopping Center.
A home window
was also broken during the spree, which took place Thursday between 1-5 a.m.
police arrested the suspects after finding them walking along Wilson and Whitlock
streets and in possession of knives.
Police identified the suspects as Harley
Davidson Johnson, 19, of West Pittston; Allan Recine Herring Jr., 19, of Nanticoke;
Joshua Tyler Rose, 18, of Exeter; and a 15-year-old juvenile.
is being charged as a minor, and Rose was released without charges because he
cooperated, police said.
Investigators charged Johnson and Herring with 35
counts of criminal mischief, six counts of conspiring to commit criminal mischief,
six counts of loitering or prowling at night, two counts of corruption of minors,
two counts of interfering with the custody of a committed person and one count
of possession of a weapon.
Magisterial District Judge Michael G. Dotzel arraigned
them Friday morning and set bail at $30,000. They are being held at the Luzerne
County Correctional Facility with preliminary hearings set for Jan. 29 at 9 a.m.
man charged with marijuana possession
By Edward Lewis - email@example.com
Nanticoke man facing marijuana possession charges filed in December was arrested
on similar offenses when police allegedly found 110 heroin packets and three bags
of marijuana hidden in his pants.
Jahleel Khiry Owens, 21, of East Main Street,
was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped on Main Street for a license plate
that was unreadable at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Police detected an odor of
marijuana coming from Owens, according to the criminal complaint.
told police he smoked marijuana about 20 minutes before the car was stopped.
detained Owens transporting him to Kingston Police Headquarters where he said,
I have dope, and unzipped his pants and removed a plastic bag allegedly
containing 110 heroin packets and three plastic bags containing marijuana, the
Owens admitted to police he sells marijuana and gives heroin
to friends to sell on his behalf, according to the complaint.
records say Owens was released from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on
Dec. 26 when he posted $50,000 bail on similar offenses filed by Kingston police
on Dec. 19.
In that case, Owens was driving a vehicle that slid into a snow
pile on North Maple Avenue. An odor of marijuana was detected in the car.
allege they found a gallon-size bag completely filled with marijuana and ammunition
inside the car. A juvenile passenger in the car was found with a loaded .22 caliber
handgun concealed under his clothing.
Police said the handgun was reported
stolen to Wilkes-Barre police on Nov. 12.
Owens was arraigned Thursday by District
Judge Joseph Carmody in West Pittston on two counts each of possession with intent
to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession
of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed at the county correctional facility for lack
of $100,000 bail.
Nanticoke man led cops on chase with pregnant woman in car
A Nanticoke man is charged
with endangering the welfare of a child after police say he led officers on two
separate high-speed chases on the same night with a pregnant woman in the car.
police on Wednesday took out a warrant also charging James Michael Hughes, 26,
of 287 State St., with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, unauthorized
use of a vehicle, resisting arrest, fleeing police and numerous summary traffic
Newport Township police first encountered Hughes about 12:40 a.m.
Dec. 5, when he refused to pull over for an officer while driving southbound on
Interstate 81 near the Nuangola exit, according to a police affidavit filed in
The officer ended the pursuit after the vehicle, a red GMC Jimmy, exited
onto Blue Ridge Trail, police said.
But a state trooper spotted the vehicle
a little more than an hour later turning into the Walden Park housing development,
The driver, later identified as Hughes, tried to make a U-turn
but was blocked by the police cruiser, the affidavit says. Hughes then sped down
Walden Drive, straddling the double yellow line as he drove down the middle of
the road, police said.
The officer chased the Jimmy through the development
and into the backyard of a home on Red Coat Lane, until at last the vehicle lost
traction on an embankment along Colony Drive, according to police.
the vehicle slid down the embankment, but Hughes continued driving for about a
quarter mile until the SUV got stuck on a downed tree.
Hughes then fled the
scene through the woods in an unknown direction, leaving behind his passenger,
Brandy Peters, police said.
Peters, who at the time was seven months pregnant,
told troopers Hughes is her boyfriends cousin. Hughes had called and asked
her to give him a ride, but when she arrived at a Nanticoke house to get him,
he insisted on driving and took the keys from her, police said.
police she thought Hughes fled from officers because he might have had drugs or
weapons in his possession.
Police on Wednesday got a warrant for Hughes
arrest. Court records indicate he was still wanted Wednesday afternoon.
verdict in Nanticoke acid-trip trial
Carl May tangled with police in his boxers,
said he was Jesus
By Roger DuPuis - firstname.lastname@example.org
Nanticoke man who scuffled with police after they found him high on acid and sitting
in the street in his underwear was found guilty of resisting arrest and disorderly
conduct after a jury trial in Luzerne County Court.Carl John Thomas May, 22, was
acquitted on charges of aggravated assault and simple assault, however
to an affidavit, police patrolling Kosciuszko Street shortly after 3 a.m. April
7 saw May sitting in the crosswalk at East Church Street, wearing only boxer shorts.When
officers pulled up next to May and asked if everything was OK, he stood up, grabbed
the passenger door of the squad car, growling, and grabbed Patrolman Joseph Buchalskis
jacket, police said
Sgt. Brian Williams got out of the car and approached May,
putting out his hand and trying to calm him down. But May kept moving toward the
officer, according to court documents, and Williams grabbed the mans arm,
taking him to the ground.
Thats when Mays mother came out of the
house and pleaded with her son to stop fighting with police, telling the officers
that May had taken acid. May responded by telling her he was Jesus, according
to the affidavit.
As the struggle between Williams and May continued, Buchalski
warned May that he was going to use a Taser on him. Two jolts were required before
May was subdued, Buchalski wrote.
May appeared to be totally incoherent,
making growling, grunting, inaudible utterances which did not make any sense,
May was transported to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
Williams, who suffered a knee injury and ripped uniform, was taken to Wilkes-Barre
General Hospital for treatment, police said.
Jurors in Mays trial before
Judge Michael T. Vough were seated Monday afternoon. Jurors deliberated for just
over half an hour Tuesday before rendering a verdict.
May was ordered to report
to probation pending sentencing at 9 a.m. March 10
police responded to the following incidents:
Pamela Aftewicz of Nanticoke reported
someone entered a property on New Grant Street and stole copper pipes, fittings
Henry Nowak of South Hanover Street reported someone stole a package
from his porch containing five boxes of 16 Keurig Vue cups.
Jacob Garner of
West Field Street reported someone threw an egg on his girlfriend's vehicle and
dumped a type of tomato paste on it.
police responded to the following incidents:
Krista Fetterman of East Church
Street reported someone keyed her vehicle.
Dora Molina of East Washington Street
reported someone slashed all four of her vehicle tires and keyed the driver's
Gary Grey of Espy Street reported someone slashed the rear driver's side
tire of his vehicle while it was parked in front of his home.
of East Grove Street reported someone entered his vehicle and stole a Verizon
Blackberry cellphone and a Dell Inspirion laptop computer.
Police cited George
A. Spencer, 35, of Nanticoke, with public drunkenness after he was allegedly found
intoxicated and yelling for police to arrest him in the area of 100 W. Church
St. on Jan. 1.
Nanticoke man growing marijuana in bedroom
Nanticoke resident is accused of being a marijuana dealer after police say they
found a growing operation and packaged drugs in his bedroom.
Coombs, 23, of 260 E. Green St., is charged with two counts of possessing marijuana
with the intent to deliver and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia.
police raided Coombs home about 4:30 p.m. Friday with a warrant allowing them
to search his bedroom.
Investigators found two flower pots containing sprouting
plants in the bedroom closet, according to a police affidavit. The plants had
recently been watered and had a fan blowing on them with lights shining from a
rod above, police said.
Officers also found empty marijuana bags, small bits
of marijuana and a blunt, the affidavit says.
Police say Coombs came home as
they were searching his room. After being arrested, police found Coombs in possession
of a marijuana grinder, a pipe and a sock containing nine bags of marijuana, according
to the affidavit. Coombs also had a joint tucked behind his ear, police said.
what he was doing, Coombs told police he was smoking marijuana, the complaint
Magisterial District Judge Martin Kane arraigned Coombs on Saturday morning
and set his bail at $20,000, which records show Coombs subsequently posted. He
is due back in court for a preliminary hearing at 1 p.m. Jan. 15.
inmate who failed to return captured
Luzerne County Correctional Facility inmate wanted for escape has been captured.
Patrick McNew, 42, of 1210 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke, is charged with felony
escape after authorities say he left for a work-release program Christmas Eve
and never returned.
McNew was set to be released between Feb. 16 and Feb. 15,
2015, on convictions of driving under the influence, receiving stolen property
and driving drunk with a suspended license.
Court documents show he crashed
a stolen car into a guardrail in Plymouth in February 2012, then fled the scene.
records show that after his capture, McNew was arraigned before Magisterial District
Judge Rick Cronauer, who set bail at $25,000.
McNew was returned to the county
jail with a hearing set for 10 a.m. Jan. 9.
Nanticoke man stole to support drug habit
Nanticoke man is accused of breaking into a relative's home and stealing jewelry,
cash and a shotgun to feed a drug habit.
Marc J. Zawadzki, 40, of 1253 Center
St., is charged with burglary and two counts each of theft and receiving stolen
According to a police affidavit, the burglary was discovered the
afternoon of Oct. 25 after Helene Zawadzki's daughter got locked out of her house
at 47 Gillespie St. in Swoyersville.
A hidden spare key was missing, and upon
entering her home Helene Zawadzki found things out of place in her bedroom, police
said. She discovered a safe under her bed had been opened and two aquamarine rings
and about $1,000 in cash had been stolen, the affidavit says.
Jewelry had been
stolen from numerous boxes in her dresser, and a shotgun was also missing, police
said. Helene Zawadzki told police her former brother-in-law, Marc Zawadzki, had
a drug problem and may have been responsible, the affidavit says.
On Nov. 10,
Helene Zawadzki got some of the stolen jewelry back from Marc Zawadzki's mother,
and she showed police text messages he sent her apologizing for breaking in, police
One message said the shotgun was at the home of Helene Zawadzki's ex-husband,
Paul Zawadzki, so police went to his home at 27 Pomona St., Kingston, and recovered
the weapon, the affidavit says.
But some of the property was gone. Police say
Marc Zawadzki sold a stolen necklace to a gun shop in Nanticoke for $127 and a
gold ring with a blue stone to a pawn shop in Swoyersville.
About two weeks
after selling the necklace, Marc Zawadzki went back to the gun shop "very
distraught," saying he had made a mistake, police said. The necklace, however,
had been melted after the required five-day holding period.
Marc Zawadzki told police he went to Helene Zawadzki's home to get his brother's
truck and that his brother told him to go inside and get some jewelry to sell
to pay for repairs to the truck, the affidavit says. He also claimed he thought
the shotgun was his father's, police said.
But Paul Zawadzki told police he
never gave his brother permission to enter the house or take anything, and that
Marc Zawadzki already knew about the hidden key because he had been present when
Paul Zawadzki got them in the past, the affidavit says.
Judge David Barilla arraigned Zawadzki on Thursday morning and set his bail at
$1,000. Zawadzki was being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with
a preliminary hearing set for 10:05 a.m. Jan. 9.
man robs Nanticoke convenience store
police are investigating an armed robbery of a convenience store that took place
Police say a man armed with a knife or box cutter walked into
the Cocoa Hut at 61 E. Main St. about 12:55 a.m. and demanded cash.
handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the robber fled on foot, police
The robber was described as wearing a gray ski mask, a red and black
striped shirt and dark jeans.
Anyone with information on the robbery is asked
to call police at 570-735-2200.
still being followed in homicide
The daughter of a woman slain Thanksgiving night said she and her family are getting
by, but its tiresome with no answers to who killed Gertrude Price in her
home on East Grand Street in Nanticoke.
Were doing. But wed
feel better if we knew who did it, Carol Belmonte, of Jackson Townshp, said
Gertrude Price, 97, who lived alone, was beaten to death Thanksgiving
night during a home invasion.
Price was known by family and neighbors as a
strong-willed, independent woman who shoveled her own sidewalk, cut her own grass
and kept a cozy little home in Nanticoke, the city where she raised her children
and worked as a union dressmaker for a factory downtown.
Belmonte said she
and her family spent a quiet New Year holiday at home. She spoke well of investigators
and was confident in their abilities.
The police have been super. I know
that theyre working to the fullest extent that they can, Belmonte
said. Its just a matter of time. We pray every day.
State police Lt. Richard Krawetz said the investigation continues with
new leads followed daily.On a daily basis, were conducting interviews,
following up on information we have received as a result of the investigation,
As is common in homicide cases, the bulk of the evidence was
uncovered at the investigations onset. As more than a month has passed,
new leads have slowed, Krawetz said. Still, the investigation has been an all-troop
effort, and detectives from other stations have contributed in the search for
Prices killer, Krawetz said.
Police have not made clear whether a burglary
that happened a few blocks away on Enterprise Street was related to Prices
Two Nanticoke men, Shane Hempel and Earl Hoopingarner, were arrested
Dec. 21 and charged with burglarizing a home about 10 blocks away from where Price
lived on the same night she was murdered.
A few days later, Janice Hempel,
Shanes sister, was charged with felony counts of receiving stolen property.
The three remain jailed at the county prison for lack of bail.
that through testimony gathered during the homicide investigation, police were
able collect enough evidence to charge the three in the burglary.
not say the burglary was connected to the homicide, only that the arrests were
made with evidence gained as a result of its investigation.
Two reward funds have been set up for information that leads to the
arrest and conviction of Prices killer.
Kevin Grevera, owner of Hunting
Depot along Prospect Street and a former city police officer, started a fund that
has exceeded $5,300. Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers later put up a second reward
for $2,500 for information that leads to a conviction.
Anyone with information
about Prices death should call state police headquarters in Wyoming at 570-697-2000.