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Lehighton man gets state time for bringing drugs into prison

Published June 04. 2010 05:00PM

A Lehighton man was sentenced to a state prison term on a charge of bringing drugs into the county prison. Six other defendants in pending criminal cases entered guilty pleas Thursday before Senior Judge Richard W. Webb.


Wayne Robert Whitsitt, 28, was sentenced by Webb to serve 12 to 30 months in a state prison on a charge of contraband into a prison-marijuana. Whitsitt was arrested on Aug. 18, 2009, when he returned from a furlough to the jail and had marijuana hidden in a bible. He then tried to pass the drugs onto another inmate.

At the time of the incident Whitsitt was about 40 days away from being eligible for parole on an assault charge he was serving at the jail. The sentence imposed on the assault was nine to 18 months.

Because of the contraband incident Whitsitt was not released after his minimum and has now served about 16 months.

Whitsitt previously pleaded guilty to the contraband count but on the day he was to be sentenced he told the court he wanted to withdraw his plea and wanted a new attorney to represent him.

Whitsitt was being represented by the county's public defenders office and Webb granted his request and appointed Atty. Brian Gazo.

Yesterday Gazo said Whitsitt decided not to pursue his petition to withdraw his plea and was ready to be sentenced.

Webb also ordered that Whitsitt supply a DNA sample and pay the costs. The new sentence runs concurrent with the assault charge. The assault sentence maximum runs to August.

Guilty pleas

Six defendants entered guilty pleas, which were accepted by Webb. They were:

Samantha Kuntz, 21, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of possession of a controlled substance-cocaine. She was arrested on Feb. 5 by agents of the state Attorney General's office after a search warrant was served at a home along Jamestown St., in Lehighton. Found in the home was cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana.

Webb sentenced her to time served (119 days) to one year in jail and immediately paroled her. She will not be released until a pre-parole plan is approved by the adult probation office.

Joshua Beury, 29, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count of criminal trespass, as a felony three. He was arrested on Oct. 25, 2009, for entering the home of Terrance Snyder at 351 Mill St., Nesquehoning.

The police report stated Beury punched Snyder in the face several times in the incident.

Defense Atty. Robert T. Yurchak told Webb the incident was a "combination of alcohol and over a woman."

Webb sentenced to time served (27 days) to one year in jail and immediately paroled him. Webb also ordered Beury to get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment; supply a DNA sample and pay the costs, and make resitution to the victim of $1,900.

Kathleen Anne Tessitore, 49, of Jim Thorpe, pleaded to one count of driving under the influence (DUI). She was arrested on Nov. 13, 2009, along Eighth St., in Jim Thorpe. She refused to take a test and will lose her license for a year for the refusal.

Webb deferred sentencing so Tessitore could apply for admittance into the Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP).

Brian John Shiner, 18, of Walnutport, pleaded to one count each of possession of a small amount of marijuana, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness, the last two being summary offenses. He was arrested on Nov. 8, 2009, by a state waterways officer along the west shore of the Lehigh River near Bowmanstown, in East Penn Township. He was fishing and smoking marijuana at the time.

Webb said Shiner didn't catch any fish but he got caught.

Webb imposed a fine fo $100 for the marijuana charge and $50 each on the two summaries.

Jessica Schafer, 41, of Palmerton, pleaded to one count of bad check. She was arrested by Lehighton police for issuing a check for $105.31 to Lehighton Lincoln-Mercury that was returned for insufficient funds.

Webb placed her on probation for a year and ordered she attend and complete a financial accountability class. The restitution has already been made to the victim, it was noted.

Ronald Peteroy, 34, of Staten Island, N.Y., pleaded to one count of DUI. He was arrested on July 12, 1998, at SR209 and SR903 in Jim Thorpe. Given a test, the result was .14BAC. He was previously placed in the county's Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) probation program for first time offenders but was revoked.

Webb sentenced him to serve 48 hours to one year in jail, a fine of $300 and one year license suspension. He must also get a D&A evaluation. He will begin the jail term on June 14 at 1 p.m.

All the defendants must also pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.

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