Lehighton man given jail term for theft, riot charges
A Lehighton man was sentenced to a county prison term on Thursday after pleading guilty to charges in two pending criminal matters - criminal trespass and theft, and to riot and related counts.
Johnathan Robert Exner, 20, was sentenced by President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II to a total of nine to one day less 24 months on counts of criminal treapass, theft, riot, criminal conspiracy-to commit simple assault, and five summary violations. The jail term will be followed by two years of probation.
The theft and trespass charges stem from a break-in at the home of Marlene Stern, 95 Cedar St., Franklin Township, a neighbor of Exner, that occured on June 25. Taken in the entry was jewelry which was later sold at a pawn shop in Lehighton.
The riot and other charges stem from an incident that occurred on July 14, 2010, in the Mt. Pocohantas development in Penn Forest Township. Exner was one of six charged in connection with the incident. Five persons were initally charged and have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. He was later added to the list of those charged.
Stern told Nanovic among the things taken from her home was her wedding band and diamond rings and other jewelry that had very personal value that could never be replaced. Those items were never found.
Exner denied knowledge of the items saying his co-conspirator in the sale of the items had them.
Exner said he got involved in the Penn Forest incident when he joined others who went to the development in retalitation for an incident that occurred earlier in Lehighton involving a friend of his.
Exner did say to Stern, "I'm really sorry for what I did. I was on drugs at the time and didn't know what I was doing."
Exner admitted to a long term drug problem that included the use of heroin.
Nanovic said he understood the frustration that Stern feels for losing very value personal items. He said he could only do what the system allows him to do.
In addition to the jail term Nanovic ordered Exner to make restitution of $5,000 in the Stern case, $3,000 to Erie Insurance and $2,000 to Stern. In the riot case he must pay restitution of $2,315 for medical bills for persons injured in the incident. Exner is responsible for one-sixth of that amount.
Nanovic also ordered he pay total fines of $750 on four counts of harassment and one of disorderly conduct. He must also get a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee, and was given credit for 26 days spent in jail on the charges.
Another condition of the sentence is that when Exner is paroled he must enter an inpatient rehabilitation center to address his addiction problem.
He will also pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation and parole. Exner began the jail term immediately.