State court rejects Mahanoy City woman's appeal of jail sentence
A Mahanoy City woman lost her appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court from a sentence inposed by President Judge James E. Baldwin in the Schuylkill County Court.
Tammy Melissa Casserly, 40, Mahanoy City, appealed from a sentence of aggregate term of eight to 23 months imposed by the county court after she pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence and making false reports to police. The Superior Court affirmed the sentence.
Cpl. James Cuttita, a state trooper, was called to investigate the death of Mark Ketusky, of Barnesville, who was found dead in a jeep parked at the Mahanoy City Little League Baseball Complex on Feb. 23, 2010. No weapon was found and the police and family of the decedent for a year believed he was murdered.
At first Casserly denied having any direct knowledge of how Ketusky died but named as possible suspects a local criminal organization, the Mafia in Hazleton and people involved in the gambling business in Philadelphia.
Finally on June 21, 2011, she admitted to police that she agreed to help Ketusky cover up his suicide and that she took the revolver from his jeep after he shot himself. She entered a guilty plea on March 30, 2012, to the charges.
Before the sentence was imposed Cuttita testifed that as a result of her misdirecton police conducted more than 20 investigative reports and conducted over 125 police interviews and with search warrants and lab fees ran up $7,500 in futile homicide investigations.
Baldwin, after considering the foregoing evidence, imposed an aggregated-range sentence for tampering with physical evidence and a consecutive standard-range. In her appeal Casserly claimed the court abused its discretion by imposing consecutive sentences and failed to consider he rehabilitation needs.
The state court disagreed with her claims, noting the trial judge had ordered a pre-sentence investigative (PSI) report before imposing sentence and had before him potential rehabilitaton needs and that he weighed those considerations along with mitigating statutory facts and the high court accepted Baldwin's explanation for the aggravated range as evidenced by both the testimony obtained during the hearing and the PSI report.
The Supreme Court judges ruled, "Casserly's challenge to the discretionary aspect of her sentence is meritless and the sentence imposed is affirmed."