A Monroe County man was sentenced to a state prison term on Monday in Carbon County court for burglary and setting fire to the home he had illegally entered.
Melvin Cusick, 26, of Stroudsburg, was sentenced by President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II to serve 18 to 36 months in prison. The proceeding was actually a resentencing in the case.
Cusick was arrested for an incident on Nov. 13, 2002, in Penn Forest Township. He was sentenced to prison and then released on parole. He was placed in a probation program at a group home because of mental health disabilities. At the home he was found with matches and a cigarette lighter that prompted his state probation officer to move to revoke his probation.
Nanovic held a hearing on the petition to revoke and granted it.
Yesterday defense Atty. Gregory Lee Mousseau argued that prison was not the place for his client because he had a IQ of only 58, putting in 20 percent below the threshold before a person can be considered competent to stand trial or understand what is going in criminal matters.
However, Nanovic noted that the case has gone by the stage for Cusick to get placed in another group home because when he was in one before when the court addressed his mental health issues. Nanovic also said that the state system, he believes, will managed Cusick's incarceration with the knowledge of his many mental issues.
Nanovic added that Cusick has a problem with fire. He said burned down a home and was involved in incidents at the group home including assaults, threats and the use of fire materials.
Nanovic said, "His conduct has caused substantial harm to others." Nanovic said Cusick's problems at the group home occurred within 30 days of his placement.
Nanovic gave Cusick credit for 150 days spent in jail to date on the charges and ordered he undergo further mental health evaluation.