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Second defendant in drive-by shooting gets state jail term

Published November 28. 2012 05:02PM

The second of four defendants charged in connection with a drive-by shooting in Weatherly last year, was sentenced to a state prison term on Tuesday afternoon.

James M. Delbo, 34, of Ashland, was sentenced by Judge Steven R. Serfass to serve a total of four to eight years in a state prison.

Delbo pleaded guilty on Sept. 20 to one count each of criminal conspiracy-aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal conspiracy-recklessly endangering another person with a deadly weapon, and criminal conspiracy-discharging a firearm into a occuptied structure.

The incident occurred on Feb. 13, 2011, along Yeakle St. in the borough.

Delbo is the second defendant in the case to be sentenced. On Oct. 15 Serfass sentenced Christopher Ray Harris, 24, of McAdoo, to serve four to eight years in a state prison on the same charges after he previously entered a guilty plea.

Delbo express remorse for what happened. He told Serfass, "I thank God no one got hurt that day, especially a child. I'm sincere in my heart."

Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Ann Dyrda Hatton told Serfass the incident was an extremely serious one. Shots were fired randomly and one bullet lodged in a wall near a infant child.

Serfass added, 'It's through the grace of God that no one was injured."

Borough police were called to the area about 2:55 a.m. on Feb. 13 to a report of shots fired. The investigation revealed that three houses, a garage, a vehicle, and a utility pole, were hit with rounds fired from a 9mm and a .22-caliber firearms. The three houses struck were at 319, 327, and 335 Yeakle St. The vehicle hit was parked in front of 319 Yeakle.

Police said the residents of 319 Yeakle St. were Tara and Steven Barnic, who said they were asleep at the time along with their children, two sons, ages 15 and two, and a one-year-old daughter.

Through the course of the investigation police learned that Delbo had made threats on the lives of Matt Sipler and Alyssa A. Adams. He had resided with them along Yeakle St., but was asked to leave when he failed to pay rent. Police said his threats included that he would "get even" with them for evicting him from the residence.

The police report listed Delbo as the shooter, but at the plea hearing Assistant District Attorney William E. McDonald, who is prosecuting the case, said Delbo was not the shooter but the driver of the vehicle involved.

In addition to the jail term Serfass ordered Delbo to supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee, make total restitution of $1,336.69 (his pro-rated share), get both a mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations and follow any recommendations for treatment, zero tolerance on D&A use, have no contact with the victims or his co-defendants, and pay court costs.

He was given credit for 636 days spent in prison to date on the charges.

The other two remaining defendants, Andrew Ortiz, 24, of Hazleton, and Joshua Zink, 33, of Columbia, have their cases pending.

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