Man involved in paint ball gun incident is found guilty of theft
Verdicts were returned this week in two criminal trials held in Carbon County court.
A Philadelphia man had a split verdict returned in his case while a Lehighton woman was found guilty of all charges filed against her.
Jamal Mitchell, 32, of Philadelphia, was found guilty of retail theft-taking merchandise which value exceeded $2,000; criminal conspiracy to commit retail theft; criminal conspiracy to commit robbery in the third degree; recklessly endangering another person; and criminal conspiracy to commit recklessly endangering another person.
He was found not guilty of robbery-serious bodily injury in first degree; robbery-bodily injury in the second degree; robbery-bodily injury in the third degree; criminal conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree; and criminal conspiracy to commit robbery in the second degree.
Mitchell was one of five persons charged with an incident that occurred during the early morning hours of Nov. 26, 2012, at the Wal-Mart store in Mahoning Township.
Police were dispatched to the store for a theft incident with shots reportedly fired.
The incident not only had township police, but police from surrounding areas along with state police searching for the getaway car. Computers and other electronic equipment were taken in the incident.
Police departments began searching for two vehicles reportedly involved. One car was stopped near Walnutport.
The other vehicle being sought was never found. Police believe the people in the other car were also involved in a separate theft incident.
Charged in the incident along with Mitchell, were Henry Andrew Clinton, 33, his cousin, Sabree Hakeem Clinton, 32, and Nyra Mary Foster, 31, and Donte Shaw, 23, all of Philadelphia. Shaw has not yet been located.
The two Clintons and Foster pleaded guilty to charges on Jan. 17 and were sentenced. Henry Clinton was sentenced to serve 12 to 36 months in a state prison, Sabree Clinton was sentenced to serve 12 to one day less 24 months in the county prison; and Foster was sentenced to serve three to one day less 24 months in the county prison. The prison terms were imposed by Judge Steven R. Serfass.
When Walnutport police stopped the vehicle Foster was the driver and the two Clintons' were inside.
When the incident occurred four men entered the store, in pairs of two. Two went immediately to the electronics area and began filling a cart with various electronic devices including televisions and computers. They then exited the store through a side emergency exit which caused an alarm to sound.
When store employees rushed to the area, they were confronted by one of the suspects who had a gun. He fired at least three shots. The weapon turned out to be a paintball gun.
District Attorney Gary F. Dobias, who prosecuted the case, said Mitchell was one of the two who went to the electronics area and fled through the side door.
The other two men exited the store through the front while employees were at the emergency door exit.
Mitchell, who was represented by court-appointed Attorney Brian Collins, was returned to the county prison after the verdict was announced.
Serfass deferred sentencing and ordered the adult probation office to prepare a presentence investigation report (PSI).
Patricia E. Gadaleta, 54, of Lehighton, was found guilty by a jury of theft by false impression, receiving stolen property, and two counts of bad check.
She was charged by state police at Lehighton for purchasing two Labrador dogs from Cheri Conway, of Klamath Falls, Oregon, with two bad checks.
After receiving the complaint from Conway, troopers obtained a search warrant for Gadaleta's business, Musket Labradors kennel in Franklin Township, and found the two dogs that belonged to Conway.
Gadaleta has been charged in other cases. She has gone on trial on other charges that included theft and related counts concerning the purchase of dogs and identify theft when she opened a credit account using a false name and the identification information of a woman in Florida. She was convicted in that case.
She still has at least two other criminals cases pending in Carbon. She has been in prison since her arrest in 2010.
The trial was held before Judge Joseph J. Matika, who deferred sentencing. Assistant District Attorney Jean A. Engler prosecuted the case while Attorney Kent Watkins was court-appointed to defend Gadaleta.
The two trials both lasted two days and concludes criminal jury trials for this term of court.