Standoff ends peacefully in Nanticoke
Mark - Citizens Voice
A man surrendered peacefully after a domestic disturbance
turned into a standoff with police on Sunday in Nanticoke.
Officers took Richard
J. Simon Jr. into custody shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday after he walked out of
his residence at 12 Honey Pot St., where he had barricaded himself for more than
an hour after he assaulted and threatened his live-in girlfriend, according to
Officers responded to a reported domestic assault at the home at 12:26
p.m. Sunday, according to a criminal complaint filed by Nanticoke police.
officers spoke with the victim of the alleged assault. She said that on Saturday
night she called Simon and confronted him about naked pictures of a woman she
found on his phone.
Simon responded I dont want you and did
not come home Saturday night, the woman told police.
She said that when Simon
came home at 11 a.m. Sunday she told him get your (stuff) and leave,
after which Simon slapped her face, shoved her to the ground and began to choke
The woman said she almost passed out before she escaped the physical assault.
She again told Simon to leave, after which he pulled a handgun from a back pocket,
aimed it at her face and said if you call the cops Ill kill you,
the complaint states.
The woman said that when Simon went to the basement,
she grabbed her children and ran out of the house to a safe location. Officers
observed red marks on her neck, consistent with her account of the assault, according
to the complaint.
Police set up a perimeter and evacuated residents of a separate
apartment in the building. They attempted to reach Simon on his cell phone, but
it went straight to voice mail, the complaint states.
A friend of Simons
managed to reach him by phone, and police convinced Simon to surrender, according
to Nanticoke police Chief Thomas Wall. No one was injured, Wall said.
was not armed when he surrendered, but officers found a handgun when they searched
his home, according to Wall.
Simon, 33, was charged with a felony count of
aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of simple assault, terroristic threats,
reckless endangerment and stalking.
He was arraigned Sunday and sent to Luzerne
County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is
scheduled for July 25 before Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker.
from Nanticoke, Hanover Twp., Sugar Notch, Rice Twp. and Newport Twp. responded,
as did state police, according to Wall.
Wall said he was happy the potentially
deadly incident ended peacefully, with no one seriously hurt and the suspect alive
and in custody.
Any time they end this way its a home run,
Police: Man robs Turkey Hill
after he, girlfriend gambled rent money
Steve Mocarsky - Citizens
City police arrested a man they say committed an armed robbery
after he and his girlfriend gambled away their rent money at a casino.
Love, 30, of East Kirmar Avenue, Newport Twp., faces charges of robbery, theft
by unlawful taking, terroristic threats and simple assault.
Police say Love
entered the Turkey Hill Minit Market at 460 W. Main St., Nanticoke, at 3:55 a.m.
June 23, jumped over the counter and demanded money from the cash register while
holding a large kitchen knife. He then allegedly fled on foot on Alden Road.
a criminal complaint, police say Love also took money from a purported patron
before leaving the store. And although a clerk asked the female patron to wait
for police, she left the store soon after Love.
The following day, police received
information on the female patron, whom they located and interviewed. The woman
allegedly told them she was serving as a lookout in the store for Love, who was
Police then located Love, who allegedly told them he and his
girlfriend were at a casino, drank alcohol, became intoxicated, gambled and lost
their rent money.
Love then allegedly admitted to going to the store and committing
the robbery, with his girlfriend serving as a lookout.
Love was arraigned before
Magisterial District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo and, unable to post $100,000 bail,
was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility to await a preliminary
hearing scheduled for 10:30 a.m. July 18 before District Judge Donald Whitaker.
accused of beating girlfriend
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
Mocanaqua man accused of beating his girlfriend spit on police and punched a medic
treating him for a nose bleed, according to police.
Matthew J. Houseknecht,
29, of 136 Italy St., had to be stunned with a Taser after he began kicking and
spitting at police, the charges allege.
According to a police affidavit, officers
were called to 113 W. Green St. around 10:20 p.m. Monday to a report of a domestic
dispute. Houseknechts girlfriend, Beth Lewis, told police they had been
arguing about spending intimate time together when Houseknecht, who had consumed
most of a bottle of peach schnapps, got irate.
Houseknecht began throwing and
smashing things, and pushed Lewis to the ground before getting on top of her and
punching her in the face, police said.
Officers arrested Houseknecht, who then
asked for a tissue because of a nose bleed, the complaint said. Informed that
police did not have any tissues, Houseknecht asked for permission to get down
and blow his nose into the grass, according to police.
When that request was
denied, Houseknecht flipped out and asked if police wanted him to
bleed all over the car, the complaint said. Houseknecht, who informed police he
has hepatitis C, then turned around and spit in the face of Officer Bryan Kata,
according to police.
As Kata tried to hold Houseknecht and stop him from spitting,
Houseknecht again spit on the officer and tried to blow the bloody discharge from
his nose onto him, the complaint alleges.
Kata then brought Houseknecht to
the ground, police said. During the ensuing struggle, Houseknecht kicked Kata
in the side before another officer, Joseph Buchalski, used a Taser to subdue him,
the charges allege.
Police said Houseknecht then calmed down until after he
was loaded into an ambulance to be taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. En
route, Houseknecht started to act up again, hitting medic Ryan Panetta on the
arm and leg, police said.
Once at the hospital, Houseknecht again spit on police,
the complaint said.
Police charged Houseknecht with aggravated assault, simple
assault, resisting arrest and harassment. Magisterial District Judge Joseph D.
Spagnuolo Jr. arraigned Houseknecht on Tuesday morning and ordered him jailed
at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with bail set at $100,000.
hearing was set for July 11.
Pair passed fake cash at grocery store
Amanda Christman - Citizens
Sugarloaf Twp. police apprehended two people after fake money
was passed at a township grocery store June 9.
Erica Altemose, 24, of Nanticoke,
was charged with two felony counts of forgery along with one felony conspiracy
count and one misdemeanor for theft while Jeremy Bulford, 27, of Duryea, faces
a felony for conspiracy at forgery and a misdemeanor for conspiracy at theft.
was released on $35,000 unsecured bail Friday by Magisterial District Judge Joseph
Zola, Hazleton, and Bulford was released on the same bail by Magisterial District
Judge Daniel ODonnell, Sugarloaf Twp., on Monday.
The charges were filed
against them June 14 by Sugarloaf Twp. police.
Township police were called
to Goulds Supermarket, 669 Route 93, at 4:13 p.m. for a woman who fled the
business after a robbery and assault against a cashier.
When a township officer
arrived, she found a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper followed Altemose out of
the store and detained her.
Police said Altemose was stopped by a cashier after
passing two bogus $100 bills. Once apprehended, Altemose claimed Bulford asked
her to pay for $25 gift cards with separate $100 counterfeit notes.
she was staying at Bulfords apartment at 1601 Airport Road in Hazle Twp.,
for about a month and that day he drove her to the store and asked her to make
the purchase, according to police. He told her how much he cared for her and though
Altemose questioned the legitimacy of the bills, she used them anyway, court papers
Altemose had two $25 gift cards in her possession, a New York state
identification card, $146 wrapped in two receipts for the gift cards she bought
with the funny money and one fake $100 bill, arrest papers state.
sought in pizzeria fireworks prank
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
group of juveniles lit off fireworks inside a Nanticoke pizza restaurant Sunday,
filling the business with smoke and clearing it of customers, the business owner
The incident unfolded around 7 p.m. inside Antonios Pizza at 204
E. Main St.
What happened: They came in. They went to the bathroom. They
got some free water. We have a container of free spring water. I guess they went
into the corner and lit it up and ran, Luigi Carannante, the owner, said
Monday. There was a lot of smoke.
The juveniles then fled on bicycles.
police and fire departments responded to the incident.
Debris from the exploding
fireworks marred the windows and walls of the business and damaged a carpet, Carannante
said. The business resumed operations when the smoke cleared.
some burn marks, scorch marks on the walls. But they didnt have to extinguish
anything, said Nanticoke Fire Chief Kevin Hazleton.
Chief Tom Wall said the department was investigating. Anyone with information
can call city police at 570-735-4000.
Antonios has been a fixture of
Nanticoke since 1982, having moved to its current location from the former Colonial
Village more than 18 years ago.
Were glad no one was hurt,
Man pleads guilty
to sex assault, assault charges
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
Monroe County man accused of beating a woman and forcing her to perform oral sex
on him in front of three young children pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony sex
Deon Hosmond Blair, 27, of Henryville, pleaded guilty to a count of
involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with forcible compulsion and a misdemeanor
count of simple assault. Prosecutors dropped additional charges against Blair
in exchange for the plea.
According to the charges, police responded to a home
on East Green Street, Nanticoke, the night of Jan. 15 after a friend of the victims
reported she was being held against her will and had been physically and sexually
Police arrived at the apartment to find the victim with swollen
and bruised cheeks and a cut on the top of her head, according to prosecutors.
Blair tried telling the officers there was no problem and asked them to leave,
but the woman reported Blair had been slapping and punching her earlier in the
evening, prosecutors said.
The woman also told police Blair had forced her
to perform oral sex in a bedroom in front of three children, ages 2, 1 and 3 months,
Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough accepted Blairs
plea Tuesday and ordered him held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility
pending sentencing on Sept. 28.
Blair will be required to undergo a sex offender
evaluation prior to sentencing.
Nanticoke City Police responded to the report of an armed Robbery that occurred
at 3:55am at the Turkey Hill Minit Mart, 460 West Main St Nanticoke City.
Incident: Armed Robbery
Location: Turkey Hill Minit Mart, 460 West
Main St. Nanticoke City
Day/Time of Incident: June 23, 2018 at 3:55am
male suspect entered the store at 3:55 am, jumped over the counter and demanded
the money from the cash register while holding a large kitchen type knife. Afterward,
the male is observed running away on nearby Alden Rd.
The male suspect is described
as wearing winter gloves, a blue scarf over his face, black blue jeans, and black
boots. The knife is described as having a brown handle.
Police are also seeking
to speak with a white female who was within the store at the time of the robbery.
Photographs of this witness are attached.
Additional information will be provided
when it becomes available.
Anyone with information about this crime and the
identity of the female is asked to contact the Nanticoke City Police at 570-735-2200
Hanover Twp. police capture
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
TWP. A man wanted on aggravated assault charges since September was captured
following a traffic stop early Tuesday, according to police.
say they contacted Patrick Shanahan, 26, of Wilkes-Barre, during a traffic stop
on South Main Street in the Lee Park section around 2:40 a.m. Tuesday. After learning
Shanahan was wanted by Nanticoke police on assault charges, he was transferred
to their custody for processing, police said.
According to the charges, Nanticoke
police responded to 336 E. Washington St. around 3:30 p.m. Sept. 21 to a report
of a woman who had been badly beaten.
The victim, Brandi Balasavage, told police
that Shanahan, her cousin, had come into her bedroom and gotten into an argument
because he thought she had been texting his boyfriend, according to police.
argument grew heated and they went to a hallway, where Shanahan began arguing
with Balasavage about a small purse, the complaint says. Balasavage reported that
Shanahan then got on top of her and punched her in the face repeatedly before
fleeing the scene, police said.
Balasavage suffered a three-inch cut on the
left side of her face as well as several small cuts and bruises on the right side,
police said. She was taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for treatment and
Police charged Shanahan with aggravated assault, simple assault,
reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and harassment. Magisterial District
Judge Joseph D. Spagnuolo Jr. arraigned him on Tuesday morning and set a preliminary
hearing for June 27.
prompts endangerment charges
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
mother and grandmother are facing charges for several instances of neglecting
a child, including one time when the toddler wandered into traffic and was nearly
stuck by a car, police alleged Wednesday.
Tatiana Iesha Moore, 20, and her
mother, Trisella Denise Hubbard, 41, both of 200 W. Main St., are each charged
with endangering the welfare of a child.
Both were arraigned Wednesday by Magisterial
District Judge Donald Whittaker, who ordered them jailed in the Luzerne County
Correctional Facility in lieu of $75,000 bail.
According to arrest papers:
first instance of suspected neglect authorities were alerted to occurred April
17 when a passerby spotted the 2-year-old boy in a diaper sitting on a curb along
busy West Main Street near the intersection with Slope Street.
As the man waited
for police to arrive, Moore identified herself as the boys mother. Moore
later told police she was unaware the boy left the home, police said.
police said they contacted Luzerne County Children and Youth Services, which made
an arrangement with Hubbard to be responsible for the supervision of the child.
10:45 a.m. May 16, police said another passerby spotted the boy, wearing only
a diaper, wandering in the middle of Slope Street in the middle of a rain storm.
The woman said she almost hit the boy with her car.
The woman took control
of the boy to make sure he was safe and made attempts to locate people in the
area who might be the boys guardians, police said. After not being able
to find anyone, the woman brought the boy to the Nanticoke police station.
police took the boy to the home of Moore and Hubbard and eventually got someone
to answer after multiple attempts, police said.
Neither realized the boy was
missing, police said.
Officials with children and youth were again contacted.
2:45 p.m. that same day, police were again called to the home for the report of
the boy hanging out of a second-story window.
By that time, children and youth
caseworkers were on scene and witnessed the incident that alarmed callers. The
child was taken into custody via a court order that child welfare officials obtained,
Hubbard said she was washing dishes and Moore was taking a bath
while the boy was hanging out the window, police said.
The women are slated
for a preliminary hearing on June 13 at 10 a.m.
grandmother charged with endangering toddler
police on Wednesday charged a Nanticoke mother and grandmother with endangering
a toddler who was left unsupervised and found wandering the streets and hanging
out a window, according to court papers.
Police allege Tatiana Iesha Denise
Moore, 20, and her mother, Trisella Denise Hubbard, 42, of West Main Street, failed
to supervise Moores 2-year-old boy, who was found wearing only a diaper
in the streets April 17 and May 16.
Police further allege the toddler was hanging
out a second-floor window of their residence May 16.
It is the second time
Moore has been charged with endangering a child.
Court records say Moore was
sentenced in November by Luzerne County Judge Michael Vough to 12 months in the
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, a special probationary sentence
for first-time, non-violent offenders. That case included charges of endangering
the welfare of children, disorderly conduct, driving without a license and failure
to secure a child in a safety seat.
It stemmed from a traffic stop by Plymouth
police in October 2016, where an officer spotted an approximate 1-year-old in
Moores vehicle not secured in a safety seat. Moore shoved the 1-year-old
several times as the toddler struck his head against the passenger-side door,
court records say.
According to the criminal complaint filed Wednesday:
2-year-old was wearing only a diaper when he was found by a passerby near the
curb in the area of West Main and Slope streets April 17. The passerby secured
the child and called police.
While officers responded, Moore emerged from her
house and retrieved her child.
The incident prompted an investigation by Luzerne
County Children & Youth, which established a safety plan for the child. The
plan called for Hubbard to be the responsible person to supervise the toddler.
than a month later on May 16, police responded to two incidents involving the
A passerby traveling on Slope Street spotted the boy, wearing only
a diaper, standing in the middle of the road. The driver had to swerve to avoid
striking the child. The passerby secured the child and drove to city police headquarters
when she was not able to find the childs guardians or parents in the area.
located Moore and Hubbard at their residence and both did not realize the toddler
was missing from the house.
Later the same day at 2:45 p.m., police returned
to the house on a report a toddler was hanging out a second-floor window.
caseworkers were at the house and stood beneath the window where the toddler was
Hubbard claimed to be washing dishes on the first floor, and Moore
was reportedly in a bathroom.
Moore and Hubbard were arraigned by District
Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke on one count of endangering the welfare of
children. They were jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $75,000
Police: Handcuffed man
A man detained
in handcuffs during a traffic stop ran away from a city police officer and jolted
in front of moving vehicles in an escape attempt on Tuesday, court records say.
Police said they stopped the driver of a Pontiac Vibe for an expired inspection
sticker on Kosciusko Street at about 5:30 p.m.
The driver identified himself
as Scott Davis at which police were unable to verify. Police allege the Pontiac
was registered to a deceased person and the driver was unable to provide a reason
to why he was driving the vehicle.
As the driver was handcuffed, he broke
free from custody and ran into heavy traffic on Kosciusko Street, police said.
Police chased the driver to East Main Street that also had heavy traffic. An officer
deployed his Taser as the driver ran into traffic, police said.
the driver as Jeffrey Junior Ray, 23, of South Grant Street, Wilkes-Barre.
A records check revealed Ray had an active warrant for his arrest by Wilkes-Barre
Township police alleging he stole a backpack from a vehicle in the parking lot
of Wegmans on Aug. 20, court records say.
Ray allegedly told city police he
attempted to escape because he was wanted.
Ray was arraigned Wednesday by
District Judge Ferris Webby in Luzerne County Central Court on charges of escape,
resisting arrest, false identification to law enforcement and three vehicle citations.
He was also charged by township police with two counts of theft.
Ray was jailed
at the county correctional facility for lack of $15,000 total bail.
Nanticoke police apprehend alleged parole fugitive
Too exhausted from running, Michael Anthony Epps
surrendered to city police after a long foot chase, they say.
Epps, 19, of Main Road, Hanover Township, gave up while trying to hide in shrubs
in the area of 1 W. Broad St. just after 11 p.m. Monday.
Epps was wanted by
the state Department of Probation and Parole on a violation.
a criminal complaint:
Police spotted Epps, who they knew was wanted, in the
area of South Market and East Main streets.
Epps took off running on South
Market, through alleys and across Patriot Park Square and back again on South
Market. Police last saw Epps running through the parking lot of FNCB Bank.
While searching the area, Epps was found hiding in shrubs.
The teen told officers
he was physically exhausted from running.
Epps also admitted he ran from police
because he was wanted and did not want to return to jail. Epps claimed he was
aware he was wanted because he received mail last week from the parole department.
Epps was arraigned Tuesday by District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr. in Luzerne County
Central Court on a charge of flight to avoid apprehension. He was jailed at the
county correctional facility for lack of $15,000 bail and on the parole violation.
Prosecutors will seek death penalty
in killing of 97-year-old Nanticoke woman
Police charged Anthony Joseph Spudis, 35, with criminal homicide, burglary
and robbery in the death of Gertrude Price, whose family found her brutally beaten
body in her bed at 23 E. Grand St. in Nanticoke on Nov. 29, 2013.
are seeking the death penalty against the former Nanticoke man accused of brutally
beating and stabbing a 97-year-old woman with a screwdriver as she slept in her
bed on Thanksgiving in 2013.
Members of the Luzerne County District Attorneys
Office announced the decision Friday morning at the formal arraignment for Anthony
Spudis, 35, is charged with criminal homicide, burglary and robbery
in the death of 97-year-old Gertrude Price, whose family found her brutally beaten
body in her bed at 23 E. Grand St. in Nanticoke on Nov. 29, 2013.
said aggravated circumstances exist allowing them to seek the death penalty, including
that the the homicide occurred during a felony.
Prosecutors allege Spudis
who was living with his girlfriend at 2 W. Union St., 820 feet away from
Prices home went out to burglarize homes Thanksgiving night in 2013.
He broke a basement window frame and screen to enter Prices home, thinking
no one was there, according to the charges.When he encountered Price, Spudis stabbed
her with a screwdriver and beat her to death, then continued robbing the home,
Luzerne County Judge Tina Polachek Gartley set a trial date
for Nov. 27.
WB man charged with forcing
sex on teen girl
man was charged Tuesday for allegedly having sex with a teen girl in the city
more than a dozen times.
Nanticoke police investigated claims by the 14-year-old,
who alleged she was forced by Jeremiah Corey Calk, 31, to have sex inside a home
on New Grant Street from October through the middle of January.
questioned Calk on Saturday, he admitted to having sexual encounters with the
teen that began with oral sex and progressed to other activities.
allege sexual contact took place over three months, from Oct. 1 to Jan. 10. Those
same documents allege Calk estimated he had sexual encounters with the girl approximately
17 times in three weeks.
Calk was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker
in Nanticoke on felony charges of statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate
sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and unlawful
contact with a minor. Calk was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility
for lack of $100,000 bail.
According to a criminal complaint:
mother reported the suspected sex assaults March 12, telling officers she allowed
Calk to stay in the basement of the home.
The girl was later questioned by
a forensic interviewer at the Luzerne County Children's Advocacy Center.
told the interviewer Calk was a good person and suffered from post traumatic stress
disorder. The girl claimed Calk initially did not pressure her as she did not
Over time, the girl said Calk began to do things to her as her
mother slept or went to church. She claimed her mind went "blank," and
she was not able to say "yes" or "no." She said Calk would
assault her "every single night."
The girl's mother estimated she
allowed Calk to stay at her house from September to February.
This is not
the suspect's first brush with the law.
Court records say Calk was sentenced
by a county judge in June 2015 to 48 days to 15 months in prison after he pleaded
guilty to receiving stolen property for his role in stealing a woman's purse outside
the Quick Stop store on Spring Street, Wilkes-Barre, in July 2011.
John Calk, 33, pleaded guilty to stealing the purse and was sentenced to 16 to
32 months in prison, records show.
man charged with assaulting woman
city man was arraigned Tuesday on two arrest warrants alleging he assaulted his
on-and-off again girlfriend in front of a young girl.
Police allege Timothy
Michael Comoroski, 32, forced his way inside a West Noble Street residence on
Nov. 19 and assaulted Jolene Bullock. Comoroski is also accused of assaulting
Bullock on Jan. 2.
According to the criminal complaints:
told police she and Zachary Hallas were helping her daughter with homework on
Nov. 19 when Comoroski forced his way inside the residence and began yelling.
She claimed Comoroski assaulted her when Hallas left the room.
attempted to call police, she claimed Comoroski ripped the phone from her hand
and left the house. She told police Comoroski had not lived at her residence for
a month prior to the alleged incident.
The girl remained in the kitchen while
Comoroski allegedly assaulted Bullock.
An arrest warrant was issued for Comoroski
on Nov. 21 charging him with burglary, robbery, theft, simple assault and harassment.
Several weeks later on Jan. 2, Comoroski returned to Bullocks residence
and allegedly assaulted her in front of the girl.
Police said they were met
at the door by the girl who stated, He hit my mommy, shes bleeding
from her nose, the complaint says.
Comoroski ran out the back door when
police were at the front door.
An officer went to the rear of the house where
Comoroski ran away and eluded capture.
Bullock allegedly told police Comoroski
struck her during an argument and he wouldnt let her and her daughter call
An arrest warrant was issued Jan. 5 charging Comoroski with simple assault
Comoroski was arraigned by District Judge David Barilla in
Luzerne County Central Court on the charges listed in the arrest warrants. He
was jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $10,000 total bail.
Police: Robbers warned clerk they would return for heist
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A city man wanted on sex assault
charges was captured Friday after he and others informed a convenience store clerk
they would be back in an hour to rob the place, according to police.
on Tuesday charged Dylan Charles Monelli, 22, of 17 S. Hanover St., with having
a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl, but he wasnt captured until
early Friday after he and two accomplices announced their plan to hold up the
Turkey Hill Minit Market at 460 W. Main St., according to police.
to a police affidavit, a clerk at the store contacted police around 12:20 a.m.
Friday to report three people had just come to the store and revealed they would
be back in an hour to rob it. The trio instructed the clerk to go by the grills
when they came back so that one of them could take cigarettes and other items
from behind the counter without any trouble, police said.
The clerk told police
she went along with the conversation because she was in fear for her life.
Police staked out the store from a nearby parking lot, and around 1 a.m. a car
with three people matching the suspect descriptions pulled up to the store, the
complaint says. One of the people entered the store and the driver, later identified
as Monelli, honked the horn to alert his friend when police pulled behind the
car, according to the charges.
Police confronted the person in the store,
a 17-year-old boy who had unopened packs of cigarettes and cupcakes in his pockets,
police said. Asked how he planned to pay for the items, he said he didnt,
according to police.
Monelli claimed he had no idea why the police were asking
him questions, then explained the minor made comments about robbing the store
but that he didnt think he really planned to do it, the affidavit says.
Monelli claimed he just wanted some Little Debbie cakes because they were only
two for $1, police said.
Police identified the third member of the trio as
Elizabeth Moore, 18, of Nanticoke, who had been reported as missing. She initially
said she had no part in the plan, but later admitted to hearing the minor and
Monelli talking about it, police said.
Police charged all three with robbery
and conspiracy to commit robbery. Monelli was also arrested on the warrant charging
him with statutory sexual assault and corruption of minors.
In that case,
police say Monelli admitted having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl
during the last half of 2017, while he was 21 years old. Most of the encounters
took place at the girls home, but Monelli also brought her to a cemetery
in Newport Twp. to have sex, according to police.
Police say the juvenile
was released to his mother, while Monelli and Moore were arraigned before Magisterial
District Judge David A. Barilla. The judge set bail at $12,000 for Monelli, and
$1,000 for Moore. They were booked into the Luzerne County Correctional Facility
with preliminary hearings set for later this month.
Trio told clerk theyd come back to rob store, got busted trying
Three people who kept their word to return and
rob a convenience store were caught in the act, police said.
and Elizabeth Moore, both of Nanticoke, and a 17-year-old boy were taken into
custody outside the Turkey Hill on West Main Street shortly after 1 a.m. Friday.
They now face charges of robbery and conspiracy.
Monelli, 22, was also wanted
on charges of statutory sexual assault for allegedly engaging in sex acts with
a 15-year-old girl. He was arraigned and committed to the Luzerne County Correctional
Facility for lack of $10,000 bail on the sex charges and $2,000 on the robbery
charges. Moore, 19, was released on $1,000 unsecured bail. The juvenile was released
to the custody of his mother.
Police said they were tipped off by a clerk
at the store when they stopped in while on routine patrol around 12:20 a.m., minutes
after the trios initial visit.
According to a criminal complaint:
Two males and a female came into the store and told the clerk they would be back
in an hour to steal cigarettes and other items. They told the clerk that she needed
to go to the back by the grill when they returned so nothing could go wrong and
the younger male could grab cigarettes from behind the counter and other items.
The older male said he lived nearby and they would return.
The clerk told
police she went along with the conversation, saying Yeah, sure to
the trio because she has children and feared for her life. She said she did not
know if they would harm her and was uncertain if they had weapons.
waited next to the store parking lot and spotted a maroon vehicle pull into the
lot around 1 a.m. A skinny male got out of the vehicle, later identified as a
Jeep, and went into the store. Police drove their marked vehicle behind the Jeep
and saw a man and woman in the front seat. The driver of the Jeep hit the horn
to alert the teen inside that police were on scene.
An officer stayed with
the Jeep and another officer went inside the store to ask the teen for identification.
The officer noticed packs of unopened cigarettes in the pockets of the suspects
pants and hooded shirt, plus two unopened packages of cupcakes. When asked how
he was going to pay for the items, the teen said he wasnt and was taken
into custody and put in a patrol car.
Monelli said he didnt think the
boy would follow through on his comment about robbing the store. Monelli said
he drove the juvenile to the store to buy Little Debbie cakes that were two for
$1. Monelli later confessed he and the juvenile talked about the robbery.
Moore, who police said was the subject of a missing person report, initially said
she heard the boy talk about the robbery and didnt think he would do it.
She recanted, saying she heard Monelli and the juvenile talk about the robbery,
but it was mainly the boys doing.
The clerk identified them as the people
who came into the store.
cream business robbed in Nanticoke
City police are investigating an armed robbery at
Chi Chis Ice Cream on West Broad Street on Wednesday.
A witness told
police a white male, wearing a gray-hooded sweatshirt and a black bandana covering
a portion of his face, entered the business at about 8:44 p.m. and threatened
a cashier with a meat cleaver-type knife while demanding money.
the suspect as being 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall.
information about the armed robbery is asked to call Nanticoke
police at 570-735-2200.
reduce arson charge against manslaughter parolee
James Halpin -
Prosecutors on Friday downgraded an arson charge against
a Newport Township man who was accused of setting a brush fire while free on parole
on an involuntary manslaughter conviction.
Corey Eckrote, 53, of 1048 Rear
E. Main St., had been facing felony counts of arson and risking catastrophe, as
well as a misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia, after police alleged
he set a fire that broke out in the area of 100 Brown Row on March 26.
court Friday, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Hogans said prosecutors had agreed
to reduce the arson charge to a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief and would
drop the remaining counts in exchange for Eckrote waiving a preliminary hearing.
At the request of the defense, Magisterial District Judge Joseph D. Spagnuolo
Jr. reduced Eckrotes bail from $100,000 to $10,000 unsecured and set a dispositional
hearing for June 7.
Prosecutors say Eckrote was found in the area of the fire
that broke out March 26 and that he repeatedly apologized for setting the fire,
saying he did something stupid. He was also found in possession of
a green cut straw with a powdery substance in his back pocket, which he claimed
was residue from his prescription Percocet, according to the charges.
time, Eckrote was on parole from his two- to six-year prison sentence imposed
after a jury convicted him of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment
over the death of his 2.5-month-old Jaxon, who suffocated on Feb. 14, 2014.
The boys mother, 44-year-old Tracey Ann Gonda, fell asleep with him in her
arms and he got wedged in the cushion of a recliner, according to prosecutors.
During Eckrotes trial, prosecutors placed the blame for the childs
death on him because he knew Gonda was an addict yet nevertheless bought Gonda
two 24-ounce containers of malt liquor and left her with Jaxon while he went out
for drinks at the Four Hundred Club of Nanticoke.
Gonda pleaded guilty in
September 2015 to endangering the welfare of a child and corruption of minors,
and was sentenced to 15 to 60 months in prison.
date set for teen accused of having ax, knives outside Nanticoke High
A trial date has been set for the student police
say had axes and knives inside his vehicle at Greater Nanticoke Area High School
Dylan Jeffrey White, 18, of Nanticoke, appeared before Luzerne
County Judge Michael T. Vough, who confirmed a trial date of June 11.
is facing a single misdemeanor count of possession of a weapon on school property.
The teen was arrested Feb. 22 after school officer Ray Whittaker noticed an ax
with a 35-inch handle on the passenger-side floor of a Mazda Protege.
car was parked near the schools gym. It was determined the parking space
was registered to White.
City police were called to the school. Police searched
the vehicle and say they found, in addition to the ax, an 11-inch knife in the
glove box, a fully extended 9-inch knife in the console and a 13-inch hatchet
under the drivers seat.
White was arraigned by District Judge Donald
Whittaker in Nanticoke. He was initially jailed in the Luzerne County Correctional
Facility for lack of $100,000 bail.
Since then, his bail has been reduced
to $50,000, but court records do not indicate if he has posted the lower amount.
Cops: Nanticoke woman stunned by Taser after challenging
officer to fight
A woman allegedly
challenged an officer to fight her before she was stunned by a Taser outside a
gas station Tuesday night.
Police arrested Remona Celee Harry, 34, of East
Noble Street, Nanticoke, after investigating an altercation inside a vehicle parked
outside Citgo on East Main Street just before 9 p.m.
According to a criminal
Police found Harry and another woman punching each other inside
a vehicle that was also occupied by an 18-year-old and 10-year-old.
refused to provide her name. She told an officer: This is not New York.
Harry continued to refuse to give the officer her name and date of birth and her
identification card. When told she was being detained for an alleged assault,
Harry refused to get out of the vehicle.
An officer displayed his Taser and
ordered Harry to exit the vehicle. Harry got out clenching her fists. She told
an officer: What do you want, to fight? When told again she was being
detained, Harry responded: Do you want to (expletive) fight?
was stunned by a Taser during a struggle. She was placed in the rear seat of a
cruiser and began screaming and kicking.
She refused to allow the officer
and paramedics to remove the Taser probes that penetrated her abdomen.
was transported to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, where the probes were removed.
Harry was identified when her fingerprints were scanned at the Kingston Police
A family member took custody of the children in the vehicle.
Harry was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke on charges
of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and harassment. She was jailed for lack
of $50,000 bail.
Nanticoke man requests
hearing on sex assault charges
man from Nanticoke accused of forcing a woman to perform a sex act requested a
hearing after a negotiated plea deal was unable to be reached with the Luzerne
County district attorneys office on Wednesday.
Nanticoke police earlier
this month arrested William E. Plunkett II, 38, after a woman claimed he forced
her to perform a lewd act inside his residence on Phillips Street on
told police she awoke at 5 a.m. for work and Plunkett began arguing with her.
She claimed Plunkett searched her cell phone and did not like what he saw.
Plunkett became enraged, struck the woman in the face and grabbed her by the neck
forcing her onto her knees to perform a lewd act, the complaint says.
later returned the cell phone to the woman and allowed her to leave.
alleged Plunkett resisted arrest, resulting in an officer sustaining an arm injury.
Police also learned Plunkett was wanted by the Lackawanna County Sheriffs
Department. Court records say a warrant was issued for Plunkett by Lackawanna
County Court on March 8 charging him with violating probation on a 2017 guilty
plea for a drug paraphernalia possession charge.
Police charged Plunkett with
involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, indecent assault, resisting
arrest, simple assault and harassment. He remains jailed at the county correctional
facility for lack of $35,000 bail.
Plunkett appeared for his preliminary hearing
in Central Court and met privately with his court appointed attorney, Brian C.
Corcoran. After the private meeting, Plunkett opted for a hearing, which rescheduled
the proceeding to May 4.
man accused of robbing Nanticoke pharmacy
say they have identified Ryan Stanley Romanoskey, 25, as the man who robbed the
Rite Aid Pharmacy in Nanticoke in November.
A man wanted on
attempted robbery and assault charges alleging he tried to hold up a drug store
and pistol-whipped a man who intervened was arraigned Thursday.
Romanoskey, 25, last known to reside in Edwardsville, was arraigned Thursday morning
and jailed as he awaits trial on charges alleging he tried to rob the Rite Aid
Pharmacy at 5 E. Main St. the evening of Nov. 3.
According to the charges,
Romanoskey entered the store and went to the counter pretending to buy candy.
When the clerk, Cristen OBrien, went to complete the transaction, Romanoskey
put a black object to her chest and said, Give me all the money and two
cartons of cigarettes, the complaint says.
Romanoskey jumped onto the
counter, but OBrien pushed him off and yelled for help, prompting customers
to come to her aid, police said.
Romanoskey then ran out of the store past
witness Stephen Kocher Jr., who called for Romanoskey to stop, according to the
complaint. Kocher gave chase but Romanoskey swung a black handgun and hit him
in the face, causing a cut to Kochers left eyebrow, according to police.
Police put out a press release and a surveillance photo of the robber, and a family
who knows Romanoskey recognized him on the news, police said.
the complaint, Lori Beth Thomas told investigators that a few hours before the
robbery, Romanoskey had come to her house and was under the influence of something.
Romanoskey had a crack pipe that he showed to Thomas children and was trying
to call someone to buy crack, police said.
After about a half hour, Romanoskey
left and the family went to a football game, the complaint says. When they returned,
the children saw a report about the robbery on the news and recognized the robber
as Romanoskey, according to police.
When they told her, Thomas recognized
Romanoskey as well, police said.
Police charged Romanoskey on Nov. 14 with
two counts each of attempted robbery, simple assault and harassment. Court records
show he was also wanted on a felony escape charge out of Wilkes-Barre that was
filed last October.
Magisterial District Judge Alexandra Kokura Kravitz arraigned
him on the escape charge Wednesday evening and set bail at $25,000 in that case.
Magisterial District Judge Joseph D. Spagnuolo Jr. arraigned him in the attempted
robbery case on Thursday morning and set bail at $50,000 on those charges.
Romanoskey was booked into the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with preliminary
hearings set for later this month.
Suspect in brutal 97-year-old woman's murder ordered
to stand trial
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
The former Nanticoke man accused of brutally beating and stabbing a 97-year-old
woman with a screwdriver as she slept in her bed on Thanksgiving will stand trial
on murder charges, but the extent of his ex-girlfriends involvement in the
case remained a mystery following a preliminary hearing Friday.
Spudis, 35, is charged with criminal homicide, burglary and robbery in the death
of 97-year-old Gertrude Price, whose family found her brutally beaten body in
her bed at 23 E. Grand St. in Nanticoke on Nov. 29, 2013.
Spudis who was living with his then-girlfriend at 2 W. Union St., mere
blocks away from Prices home went out to burglarize homes Thanksgiving
night in 2013. He broke a basement window frame and screen to enter Prices
home, thinking no one was there, according to the charges.
When he encountered
Price, Spudis stabbed her with a screwdriver and beat her to death, then continued
robbing the home, prosecutors said. Taryn Simms, 33, initially told police Spudis
brought her back to Prices home, where she saw Price lying in her bed, not
But in court Friday, Simms had a different story.
With an attorney
seated at her side to provide counsel, Simms testified that she had gone to work
Thanksgiving night 2013 providing home care to a patient in Kingston. Spudis was
supposed to be watching her 7-month-old baby, but when she got home around 10:45
p.m. only the baby was there, she said.
Spudis later returned, claiming to
have gone on a walk, she said.
Simms denied knowing Price or ever being inside
her house. When Assistant District Attorney Dan Zola asked if she told police
in her original statement she had gone upstairs and seen Prices body, she
paused the hearing to consult attorney Nanda Palissery.
going to answer that question, Simms said when she turned back to the microphone.
During cross-examination by defense attorney John Pike, Simms said she was aware
that her DNA alone had been found on a kitchen knife found outside the screen
window that had been pried open leading into Prices basement. Simms also
admitted that only her DNA had been found on the screen and on a screwdriver that
police found on Prices kitchen table a screwdriver Prices family
members said did not belong to her.
And Simms also admitted that her DNA alone
had been found on a white shelled necklace that police found on the floor next
to the bed where Price died.
Court records show no charges have been filed
against Simms related to the case.
Family members found Prices body
in her bed the next day. Her son-in-law, Richard Belmont, said when he went into
the house he saw it had been ransacked, with drawers left open and Prices
belongings strewn across the floors.
After walking up the glass-covered stairs,
Belmont saw a lump in Prices bed and pulled back the bedsheets to find her
lifeless body, he said.
Theres blood all over her face and Im
screaming Gert! Gert! Gert! Belmont said.
Crime scene photographs displayed
at the hearing showed Price laying on her back in the bed, with a white sheet
pulled down over her shoulders. Her face was bloodied and blood spatter dotted
her blue pillowcase.
Luzerne County Coroner Bill Lisman said Price had been
stabbed in the left ear three times with a screwdriver-like instrument,
with a fourth stab wound behind the ear. She had also been beaten on the face,
and had a broken nose and jaw, he said.
To bolster their case against Spudis,
prosecutors brought forward a series of jailhouse informants. Former inmate Michael
Owens, 41, and current prisoner Jared Hospodar, 23, both maintained that while
Spudis was serving time in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on unrelated
charges in 2014, he expressed concerns about being charged related to Prices
He was like, I killed her, Owens said.
But a third potential informant backfired when called to the stand.
say William Gronosky a 35-year-old prisoner serving 33 to 66 years in state
prison for a robbery spree that included firing shots at two police officers
previously told investigators that Spudis talked to him about the slaying. But
wearing an orange Department of Corrections jumpsuit in court Friday, Gronosky
denied even knowing Spudis.
You guys made up a story and asked me to
come in here and say it, Gronosky said. I dont even know this
dude right here. Ive never seen him in my life.
Attorney Michelle Hardik had Gronosky declared a hostile witness, but he refused
to budge as she went through the statement troopers allege he gave them about
a conversation with Spudis. When it was over, Gronosky shook his head.
wanna talk about hostile? Gronosky said. Wow.
But the prosecution
case didnt hinge on informants alone. Last summer, with Simms permission,
police searched the basement of the home at 2 W. Union St., finding numerous items
belonging to Price including bills, mail, family photos and a white jewelry armoire,
according to prosecutors.
State police Cpl. Edward Urban also testified that
Spudis DNA was found on a pair of Timberland boots that matched shoe impressions
collected in Prices basement. Spudis DNA was also on rubber gloves
recovered from the crime scene, he said.
Following the testimony, Magisterial
District Judge Donald L. Whittaker forwarded all charges to county court for trial.
Spudis has been held without bail at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility
since his arrest in December.
on parole for involuntary manslaughter charged with arson
A township man on parole after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter
in the death of his infant son was charged this week with arson for allegedly
setting a brush fire.
Corey Eckrote, 53, of 1048 Rear E. Main St., is accused
of setting a fire that broke out in the area of 100 Brown Row on Monday afternoon.
Police say they responded to the area and found firefighters working to contain
the fire to a hillside, as well as a man later identified as Eckrote walking around
the blaze. When police confronted Eckrote, he admitted starting the fire to clean
it up, according to a police affidavit.
Eckrote repeatedly apologized
for setting the fire, saying he did something stupid and he was sorry,
according to police. Police say Eckrote also asked to be released, explaining
that his father recently died and that his mother suffers from Alzheimers
disease and needs him around.
Police handcuffed and searched Eckrote, finding
a green cut straw with a powdery substance in his back pocket, according to the
complaint. Eckrote claimed the powder was his prescription Percocet, according
to the charges.
Police charged Eckrote with felony counts of arson and risking
catastrophe, as well as a misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia.
Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker arraigned him and ordered Eckrote
jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with bail set at $100,000.
A preliminary hearing was set for April 4.
In 2015, Eckrote was sentenced
to serve two to six years in state prison after a jury convicted him of involuntary
manslaughter and child endangerment over the death of his 2½-month-old
Jaxon, who suffocated Feb. 14, 2014.
The boys mother, 44-year-old Tracey
Ann Gonda, fell asleep with him in her arms and he got wedged in the cushion of
a recliner, according to prosecutors.
During Eckrotes trial, prosecutors
placed the blame for the childs death with him because he knew Gonda was
an addict yet nevertheless bought Gonda two 24-ounce containers of malt liquor
and left her with Jaxon while he went out for drinks at the Four Hundred Club
When he returned, Gonda who was under court order not
to be alone with the child sought his help, but Eckrote gave the baby back,
saying he had to be up for work in the morning, according to prosecutors.
After finding the infant the next day, Gonda initially claimed she had placed
the child safely into his bassinet, but admitted she lied when her other son told
police his brother had been lying with his head in the cushions.
guilty in September 2015 to endangering the welfare of a child and corruption
of minors, and was sentenced to 15 to 60 months in prison. Records show she has
also been released but has absconded on her parole.
Department of Corrections
Susan McNaughton said Eckrote was paroled from his sentence on Nov. 4, 2017, after
serving his minimum sentence. His maximum term expires on Nov. 4, 2021, she said.
Nanticoke man arrested after allegedly
threatening to kill family
city man threw himself on the floor of a holding cell, then began to cry and apologize
for terrorizing his family during a domestic disturbance late Tuesday, according
to arrest papers.
Nanticoke officers arrested David Alan Rausch, 24, after
a foot chase that began at his house in the 300 block of West Main Street and
ended in the 200 block of East Green Street at about 11:15 p.m.
Rausch assaulted Ruben Lopez and threatened to leave and return with a gun to
kill everyone in his house.
Three children all under age 8 were at the residence
at the time, police said.
Rausch was arraigned Wednesday in Luzerne County
Central Court on five counts each of simple assault, terroristic threats, and
one count each of resisting arrest, harassment and public drunkenness. He was
jailed for lack of $25,000 bail.
Police noted Rausch is on state parole.
Firecracker blamed in reported Nanticoke explosion
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
A reported explosion at a city building on
Sunday turned out to be a minor incident that might have involved fireworks, according
to Nanticoke Fire Chief Kevin Hazleton.
Emergency officials received numerous
calls about a loud noise that sounded like an explosion in the area of South Prospect
and East Broad streets late Sunday afternoon, Hazleton said.
found one window of a building on the block had been broken, the chief said. It
appears the damage was caused by the blast that people had reported hearing, Hazleton
said. The noise might have come from someone setting off a large firecracker such
as an M-80, he said.
who pleaded guilty to child porn gets new sentence
After a state appellate court ruled his original sentence was illegal,
a Nanticoke man saw two years taken off his probation this week.
37, was given the new sentence on Thursday by Luzerne County Judge Tina Polachek
Gartley, after the appellate court called her original sentence illegal.
Heppding entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors, agreed to plead guilty
to one count each of child pornography and corruption of minors, in exchange for
other charges being withdrawn.
But after his sentencing in December 2016,
his public defender, John Donovan, appealed, saying Polachek Gartleys original
sentence was excessive.
Polachek Gartley originally sentenced
Heppding to between three and six years in state prison on the child porn count,
which would then be followed by a 21 to 42 month long stay in prison and 36 months
of probation on the corruption count.
The Superior Court, though, said the
sentence on the corruption count exceeds the statutory maximum of
five years, or 60 months combined with the prison stay and probation, Heppding
was looking at between 57 and 78 months, breaking state law.
was ordered to give Heppding a new sentence, as the Superior Court upheld his
guilty plea. That new sentence looks a lot like the original. His punishment for
the child porn count remains unchanged, and hes still getting 21 to 42 months
in prison on the corruption count, which will still be served after the child
The only difference is that Heppding will now get one year
of probation instead of three, bringing the sentence below the state maximum.
Polachek Gartley also gave Heppding 823 days credit for time already served, shaving
more than two years off the new sentence.
He was remanded to the State Correctional
Institution at Camp Hill.
police charge Harrisburg man with drug, firearm possession
police arrested a Harrisburg man when they allegedly found marijuana and a stolen
handgun inside his vehicle Thursday.
Patrick L. Knight, 31, was arrested when
officers investigated a suspicious male and a vehicle driving erratically in the
area of West Field Street and Lincoln Avenue at about 2:20 p.m., a report states.
Police spotted Knight leaning into a Buick LeSabre that was parked partially on
the road and a yard. Police detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from Knight
and the vehicle.
Knight told police he was from Hazleton and was reliving
his childhood but did not know he was in Nanticoke.
Police spotted marijuana
residue and the barrel of a handgun sticking out of a nylon bag. The guns
serial number was altered, but police were able to get the correct number from
the guns manufacturing box inside the vehicle. The serial number showed
the handgun was reported stolen in Harrisburg.
A plastic bag of marijuana
and a digital scale were also found in the vehicle.
Knight was arraigned on
charges of receiving stolen property, possessing a firearm with an altered serial
number, firearms not to be carried without a license, possession of marijuana,
possession of drug paraphernalia and public drunkenness. He was jailed at the
Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $30,000 bail.
Nanticoke man charged with drug trafficking after search
Police charged a Nanticoke man with drug trafficking
on Monday after officers allegedly found drugs and paraphernalia during a search
at his home.
Desmond Knott, 38, of 218 W. Ridge St., was arraigned Monday
on felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance,
and misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession
of drug paraphernalia.
According to a criminal complaint filed by Nanticoke
and Hanover Twp. police:
The Luzerne County Drug Task Force served a search
warrant at Knotts home Monday morning. Knott was not there.
found suspected marijuana, heroin/fentanyl, crack cocaine, two scales with powder
residue and suspected drug paraphernalia.
Investigators found Knott at a West
Pittston apartment. The resident, a woman, consented to a search of the apartment.
In a safe, police found U.S. currency with serial numbers that matched those of
pre-recorded buy money used in controlled drug purchases from Knott,
the complaint states.
Knott told police that the woman who lives at the West
Pittston apartment had nothing to do with the drugs found at his Nanticoke home.
The woman told police that she would drive Knott around as he conducted drug deals
and said she was stupid for getting involved.
A field test of
the substances found at Knotts home yielded positive results for marijuana,
heroin/fentanyl and cocaine base, according to the complaint.
arraignment, Knott was sent to Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of
$100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 14 before Magisterial
District Judge Joseph Halesey.
student had weapons on school property
student at Greater Nanticoke Area High School was charged Thursday with possessing
axes and knives inside his vehicle on school property.
City police alleged
school officer Ray Whittaker spotted an axe with a 35-inch handle on the passenger
side floor of a Mazda Protege parked in the rear parking lot near the gymnasium
just after 12 p.m.
The vehicle is registered with a school parking permit
to Dylan Jeffrey White, 18, of West South Street, Nanticoke.
school officials who spoke with White.
Police searched the vehicle allegedly
finding an 11-inch knife in the glove box, a fully extended 9-inch knife in a
console and a 13-inch hatchet under the drivers side seat, according to
the criminal complaint.
White was charged with a misdemeanor count of possession
of a weapon on school property. He was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker
in Nanticoke and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of
Superintendent Dr. Ronald Grevera could not be immediately
reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
sentenced for role in drug ring
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A Nanticoke woman will serve more than two years in federal prison for
her role in a heroin trafficking ring, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.
Megan Fox, 31, was sentenced Tuesday to serve 30 months in prison for conspiring
to distribute heroin in Luzerne County in early 2014, prosecutors said. According
to prosecutors, Fox admitted to helping a drug ring distribute as much as 1 kilogram
of heroin, the equivalent of up to 40,000 bags.
The ring leader, Desmond Mercer,
previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
to the prison time for Fox, Senior U.S. District Court Judge James M. Munley ordered
her to forfeit nearly $16,000 and a Buick vehicle that was seized in the investigation.
She will also be required to serve three years probation upon her release.
February 20, 2018
Location: Rite Aid Pharmacy 5 East Main St. Nanticoke City
Date: February 19, 2018
Nanticoke City Police responded to the Rite Aid
Pharmacy 5 East Main St. Nanticoke City for the report of a retail theft shortly
A white male took possession of merchandise and ran out of the
store when confronted by loss prevention personnel.A surveillance photo of the
white male is attached. Anyone with information regarding his identity is asked
to contact the Nanticoke City Police at 570-735-2200.
Police: Pot-smoking parents charged after tot goes unresponsive
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
Two city parents are facing child endangerment
charges after their 18-month-old child became unresponsive in a house filled with
marijuana smoke, according to police.
Raheem Twyman, 21, and Kayla Marie Bitzer,
25, both of 231 E. Green St., are accused of putting their three children in danger
when they smoked marijuana in the house Tuesday afternoon.
According to a
police affidavit, police and medics were dispatched to the family home at exactly
4:20 p.m. to a report of an unresponsive child. Police arrived and found medics
treating the 18-month-old baby, who was taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
Bitzer, the mother, told police she and Twyman had been in the basement smoking
marijuana while her three children 18-month-old twins and a 3-year-old
remained on the first floor of the home, police said.
that the 3-year-old came to the basement door to say that the younger children
were climbing on a table, so he went upstairs, according to the affidavit. One
of the toddlers was on the table, limp and unresponsive, so Twyman yelled to Bitzer
for help, police said.
Another resident of the home told police he had been
asleep upstairs when Bitzer came up asking him to call 911, according to the affidavit.
Police say the first floor and basement of the house smelled strongly of marijuana,
and that Twyman turned over the remaining marijuana he had along with a marijuana
grinder and blunt cigars.
The two children who were not hospitalized were
taken into protective custody. Officials said the child who was treated was discharged
from the hospital later Tuesday.
Police charged both parents with three felony
counts of child endangerment and a misdemeanor count of possessing marijuana.
Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker arraigned them on Wednesday morning.
The judge released Bitzer on $75,000 unsecured bail but ordered Twyman jailed
at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with bail set at $75,000.
hearings were set for Feb. 14.
Nanticoke mayor ruled incompetent in child luring case
- Citizens Voice
A former teacher and Nanticoke mayor who was accused
of trying to lure children into his car with cash will not stand trial after a
psychiatrist deemed him incompetent.
Edward J. Butkiewicz, 76, is facing misdemeanor
charges of child luring and corruption of minors for allegedly trying to coax
kids into his car with promises of cash in exchange for doing weird
But Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough has signed an order staying
the case indefinitely, writing that Dr. Richard E. Fischbein determined Butkiewicz
is not competent to stand trial.
A source with knowledge of the case said
Butkiewicz has vascular dementia.
The court order calls for Butkiewicz to
be re-evaluated later this year to determine whether he will be able to regain
competency to stand trial.
Butkiewicz, of Mountain Top, is accused of roaming
around and trying to coax children into his car along Rock Street in Glen Lyon
last July. According to prosecutors, the first encounter involved a 13-year-old
boy who said he was in the parking lot of an apartment complex when a silver car
Butkiewicz asked the youth if there were any bars in the area,
then asked if he could see the boys genitals, prosecutors said. The boy
also described Butkiewicz saying he wanted to do weird things to him
and offering money to get in the car, according to prosecutors.
A few days
later, a 16-year-old boy reported that Butkiewicz had approached him twice. The
first encounter was at Rock and East Main streets, where Butkiewicz asked if the
boy was gay and wanted to make money, prosecutors said.
The second took place
West Main and Market streets in Glen Lyon, where Butkiewicz asked the teen and
another boy if they wanted to make money, prosecutors said.
them into a Rock Street apartment complex, where they called 911. In addition
to the luring and corruption charges, Butkiewicz is also facing charges of disorderly
conduct and resisting arrest; police say he pushed back against the arresting
He has been free since posting $100,000 bail last August. Voughs
order says bail will continue pending the follow-up examination.
a retired elementary school teacher in the Greater Nanticoke Area School District,
served terms as a Nanticoke City councilman and mayor prior to facing similar
charges in 2003. In that case, a former student of Butkiewiczs told police
Butkiewicz had pulled up and offered a ride, fondling the boy as they drove through
Nanticoke and Hanover Twp.
Butkiewicz pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge
of indecent assault in that case and was sentenced to two years of probation.
Raid on Nanticoke drug house turns up dope, cash, kids
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
Three children were removed
from a home and four adults were arrested after police raided a suspected drug
house Thursday afternoon and found large quantities of heroin and marijuana.
Officers raided the home at 200 W. Main St. around 4 p.m. Thursday after a confidential
informant bought heroin from two of its occupants on three occasions since November,
according to police.
The Luzerne County Drug Task Force entered the home after
officers knocked and heard what sounded like people running around inside. Upon
entering, police found the two targets of their investigation: Tarrell T. Humphrey,
33, and Daurron Jamison, 22.
A search of Humphrey turned up 60 bags of PANTHER
brand heroin, the same type the confidential informant bought from both men during
the lead up to the raid, police said.
In the upstairs master bedroom, which
belongs to Walter Daymon Humphrey, 43, and Sadiqa Imanihamd Caines, 41, police
found a large amount of marijuana, drug packaging materials, cash and a digital
scale that was coated with white powder, according to police.
The cash was
inside a purse in a closet where police also found three vacuum-sealed bags, each
weighing about 120 grams, according to police. The contents of the vacuum bags
tested positive for heroin, police said.
Police say Luzerne County Children
and Youth Services caseworkers responded to the home and removed Caines
three children, delivering them to a relative. Nanticoke City Code Enforcement
was also apprised of the situation at the home, a rental property.
charged all four adults with drug trafficking, conspiracy to deliver drugs, drug
possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Tarrell Humphrey was also hit
with counts of criminal use of a communication facility.
judge David A. Barilla arraigned the quartet on the charges Friday morning and
set bail for each of them at $75,000. They were being held at the Luzerne County
Correctional Facility with preliminary hearings set for Feb. 21.
Police: 300 kids involved in GNA-WVW brawl
Kalinowski - Citizens Voice
A brawl involving up to 300 students erupted
Tuesday night outside Wyoming Valley West High School after the school hosted
a boys basketball game against Greater Nanticoke Area, police said.
police Sgt. Josh Evans, who was working security for the game, said the student
sections for both schools were animated and they clashed after the heated contest,
which Nanticoke won 69-62.
It was a rivalry game. There was a large
crowd on both sides. After the game, things got out of hand. There was a large
disturbance, Evans said.
While the school is in Plymouth, Larksville
police provide security during games.
Evans said he and his partner radioed
for backup from Plymouth and Edwardsville police when it appeared trouble was
likely. He said the clashing sides were soon separated.
Punches were thrown,
but there didnt appear to be any serious injuries, he said.
police would only confirm they are investigating a large fight involving
juveniles that occurred on Wyoming Valley West school property.
was reported around 8:38 p.m., police said.
Plymouth police said the brawl
was investigated and juveniles that were interviewed were released to parents
Investigators didnt say if charges would be filed.
Police say they are reviewing video of the fight.
Efforts to reach Valley
West and Nanticoke school officials about the incident were not successful.
Nanticoke man charged with repeated rape of child
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
A Nanticoke man repeatedly raped
a girl starting when she was 8 years old, city police allege.
36, was arraigned Sunday on a slew of felony charges, including rape of a child,
statutory sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault of a child,
indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age, unlawful contact with
a minor and corruption of a minor.
According to a criminal complaint filed
by Nanticoke police, the victim, now 15, last month reported that Buchanan had
sexually assaulted her since she was 8. The girl was interviewed at the Luzerne
County Child Advocacy Center.
The girl said that Buchanan would come into
her bedroom and perform sex acts. She said that when she asked Buchanan if he
had to do this, he replied Yes, we have to, the affidavit states.
Buchanan also sexually assaulted the girl at least once outside the home, according
to the affidavit.
Buchanan told the girl she is beautiful and warned her not
to tell anyone because he could get in so much trouble, the affidavit
The girl said she is afraid of Buchanan because he had been physically
abusive toward her, according to the affidavit. She also said Buchanan told her
that if she ever needed anything sexual, she could go to him and he would help
her out, the affidavit states.
Buchanans wife, Evalynn Buchanan,
35, was charged with a felony count of endangering the welfare of a child in connection
with the case, according to court documents.
Both Buchanans are being held
in Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $500,000 bail, pending a preliminary
hearing scheduled for Feb. 7 before Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker.
Judge calls rapist 'predator,' imposes decades in prison
James Halpin- Citizens Voice
Nanticoke man convicted of raping a teenage girl, trying to molest her sister,
and trying to force himself another woman was sentenced Friday to serve up to
50 years in state prison.
Glynn A. Wildoner, 38, of 223 W. Union St., offered
a brief apology as he stood in court before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough,
who appeared unmoved by the gesture. The judge noted that Wildoner was out on
bail on the charges stemming from the abuse of the sisters when he tried to sexually
assault a female relative.
To me youre a predator, Vough
said. Youre a danger to this community. ... You need to be taken out
of society for a very, very, long time.
Wildoner was first arrested
in June 2016 on child rape charges alleging he forced himself on a 14-year-old
girl and tried to have sex with the girls sister. According to prosecutors,
the girls mother caught Wildoner when she unlocked her daughters bedroom
door and found the teen on the floor with her pants down and Wildoner on top of
The girl told police she had been trying to take a nap when Wildoner
woke her by putting his hand over her mouth, saying stay the (expletive)
down, according to prosecutors. Wildoner then forced himself on the teen,
warning that he would hurt her if she told anyone, prosecutors said.
told prosecutors that Wildoner had raped her before, and her sister reported that
several months earlier Wildoner tried to pressure her into having sex but she
Police hit Wildoner with child rape and related charges, but he posted
$100,000 bail through a bondsman 11 days after his arrest. While out on bail,
prosecutors say Wildoner went to a female relatives apartment and made sexual
advances on her, putting his hands down her pants and offering her $100 in exchange
Wildoner was again arrested, this time on charges of indecent assault.
In October, he went to trial on the rape case and a jury convicted him on multiple
counts of rape, statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and related
offenses. Earlier this month, Wildoner then pleaded guilty to indecent assault
and promoting prostitution in the second case.
During the sentencing hearing
Friday, defense attorney John Donovan sought a sentence of 10-20 years in prison,
arguing that Wildoner has a limited criminal history and that a longer sentence
could amount to life in prison.
By the time this sentence is complete,
he will be in his late 50s, Donovan said. It will let him lead some
kind of a life.
But Assistant District Attorney Angela Sperrazza sought
more time behind bars, describing Wildoners conduct as horrible
and noting that he victimized three people.
This wasnt one slip
up, Sperrazza said. This wasnt one incident. This was a pattern
of behavior that only stopped when (the girls) mother walked in on it.
Vough sentenced Wildoner to 25 to 50 years in state prison, ordering him to have
no contact with the victims and to register as a sex offender for life. The judge
ordered Wildoner sent to the state Department of Corrections as soon as possible,
giving him credit for 193 days time served.
death leads to felony charge for Nanticoke nurse
A registered nurse whose patient died under her care
was charged Friday with a felony count of neglect of care alleging she failed
to take adequate precautions after being warned her patient was in distress.
Kelly E. Levandowski, 39, of 35 rear W. South St., is accused of intentionally,
knowingly or negligently failing to provide sufficient care to Melvin Johnson,
72, who died after going into cardiac arrest at Guardian Elder Care at 147 Old
Newport St., on June 20, 2013.
According to a complaint filed by the state
Attorney Generals Office, the criminal investigation began after the state
Department of Health cited Guardian in 2013 for failing to provide adequate monitoring
over the incident.
The complaint says that Johnson had suffered from a ruptured
aneurism and subsequent bleeding of the brain prior to being admitted at Guardian
on the day of her death. She had been on a ventilator, but was weened off of it
prior to admission, according to the complaint.
The Guardian staff did not
immediately put Johnson on 15-minute checks because there was no evidence that
she had been pulling on a breathing tube upon admission, the complaint says. However
staff on the 3-11 p.m. shift that day did observe Johnson pulling on the tube,
and at least four members told Levandowski, a shift supervisor, that they were
concerned about it, the complaint says.
Levandowski, however, stayed seated
at the nursing station, according to the charges.
When Johnson pulled it out
shortly after 7 p.m. that evening, Levandowski reinserted it herself and called
Johnsons doctor, but did not call 911 as required by facility policy, the
complaint says. Levandowski also wrote in her notes that 15-minute checks were
to continue, although prosecutors say there is no evidence that they had started
If 15-minute checks were in place at that time, they were
proven to be ineffective, as Johnson was not adequately supervised in that she
was able to remove her tube, the complaint says.
About a half-hour after
the first incident, another nurse discovered that Johnson had again removed the
tube and was unresponsive, according to the complaint.
notes indicate she tried unsuccessfully to reinsert the tube and performed CPR
until medics arrived on scene. However, prosecutors noted in the complaint that
no other staff members were able to corroborate Levandowskis claim that
she tried to save Johnson.
In fact, one nurse aide told investigators that
after Johnson died, Levandowski directed her to fill out a form indicating 15-minute
checks had been performed on Johnson since 3 p.m., even though they had not been.
The aide reported that she complied because Levandowski was her boss and she felt
intimidated, prosecutors said.
Another nursing aide also told investigators
that someone had forged her initials on a check sheet for earlier in the afternoon,
the complaint says.
During questioning, Levandowski told investigators that
she should have called 911 and put Johnson under constant supervision after the
first incident, but that a lot was missed that night, obviously.
The complaint alleges Levandowski engaged in criminal neglect of a patient for
failing to take those steps, which are required under facility policy.
complaint says Levandowski stopped working for Guardian in July 2015.
District Judge Donald L. Whittaker arraigned Levandowski on Friday morning and
released her on $25,000 unsecured bail.
A preliminary hearing was set for
Camera recorded man
using stolen credit card in Nanticoke
City police on Thursday released surveillance pictures of a man using a
reported stolen credit card at the Turkey Hill store on West Main Street last
Police said the credit card was stolen from a location on East Grand
Street on Dec. 24, and used the same day at about 11:17 p.m. at the Turkey Hill
The man recorded in surveillance pictures operated a white Jeep Grand
Nanticoke man acquitted
on most charges in rape case
James Halpin - Citizens
A Nanticoke man accused of rape was acquitted at trial
of nearly all the charges against him Friday.
Christopher Bates, 44, faced
charges including forcible rape, aggravated assault and false imprisonment alleging
he forced himself on a woman at knife-point.
Prosecutors alleged Bates attacked
the woman while she was sleeping around 2 a.m. Nov. 12, 2016, putting duct tape
on her mouth and pulling a knife on her as he raped her.
But after about two
hours of deliberations Friday, a jury found Bates not guilty on 18 of the 20 counts
he faced. The jury convicted him on one misdemeanor count of simple assault, and
Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough found Bates guilty on a summary harassment
Bates was represented by Kingston attorney Nanda Palissery.
Nanticoke man pleads guilty to string
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
man accused in three robbery cases pleaded guilty Thursday.
Bobby Wicks, 40,
pleaded guilty to charges of robbery, attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit
robbery and simple assault. Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough accepted the
plea and set sentencing for March 9.
Wicks was charged in three Nanticoke
robberies: the robbery of the Cocoa Hut convenience store on Nov. 19, the attempted
robbery of a Curry Donuts shop on Nov. 16, and an armed robbery of the Burger
King on Nov. 13.
Wicks was remanded to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility
Laurel Run man
pleads guilty to sex assault charges
James Halpin - Citizens Voice
A Laurel Run man accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl pleaded
guilty Thursday to a felony count of statutory sexual assault.
Cornell, 21, pleaded to a single count of the offense, with prosecutors dropping
other charges. Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. accepted the plea
and set sentencing for Feb. 26.
According to prosecutors, Cornell was 20 and
the girl was 15 when they had sexual intercourse on multiple occasions last July
at a home on East Noble Street in Nanticoke.
As part of his sentence, Cornell
will be required to complete sex offender counseling.
Police: Woman forced to perform oral sex in front of
A Monroe County man was
arraigned Tuesday on charges he forced a woman to perform a oral sex in front
of children inside an East Green Street residence.
Deon Hosmond Blair, 27,
of Henryville, was arrested by Nanticoke police while investigating a domestic
dispute at the residence just before 11 p.m. Monday.
A witness told police
Blair was keeping a woman against her will inside the residence.
the woman had facial and head injuries and pleaded with officers she needed help
because Blair was hurting her, according to the criminal complaint.
told officers to leave the residence.
When Blair was told that police were
investigating a domestic dispute, Blair asked the witness to speak privately.
Police learned Blair was wanted by East Stroudsburg University police on assault
and harassment charges stemming from an incident on Nov. 9. After he was handcuffed
and taken away from the residence, the woman allegedly claimed he assaulted her.
She alleged Blair slapped and punched her and forced her to perform a lewd sex
act on him in front of three children, ages 2, 1 and three months, the complaint
Police said the woman was transported to Commonwealth Wilkes-Barre General
Hospital for treatment.
Blair was charged with two counts each with indecent
assault and simple assault and a single count of harassment. He was jailed at
the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $20,000 bail and on the arrest
warrant from East Stroudsburg University.