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Woman pleads to assault with tire iron

Published August 12. 2014 12:34PM

A Carbon County woman pleaded guilty in the county court on Monday to aggravated assault, but mentally ill, and was sentenced to a state prison term.

Debra Ann Wilson, 51, of White Haven, pleaded before Judge Steven R. Serfass. The charge stems from an incident that occurred on June 26, 2011, in Kidder Township.

Serfass sentenced her to serve 36 to 72 months in a state correctional institution.

State police at Fern Ridge charged that Wilson entered the home of Elaine Rufo, 120 Mountain Drive, in the Pocono Mountain Lakes development.

Wilson then went to a bedroom where Rufo was sleeping and assaulted her with a tire iron. Rufo sustained various injuries in the attack.

Before the start of the plea proceeding Serfass conducted a mental health hearing to determine if Wilson was mentally ill at the time of the attack

Via telephone on speaker in the courtroom Dr. Ian Livinson testified he examined Wilson on June 10, and found her to be "severely mentally disabled" and was at the time of the attack and before that time.

He said his psychiatric examination determined that Wilson must remain on her current medication and that her condition is something she must live with the rest of her life.

Serfass ruled that Wilson met the elements of the law to plead guilty but mentally ill.

Wilson told Serfass, "I'm truly sorry for my actions and what I did to Ms. Rufo. I have been battling mental health problems for 32 years."

Wilson has been in the county prison since her arrest in 2011 and has been receiving treatment and is currently on medication. She was given credit for 1,057 days spent in jail on the charge.

Serfass said Wilson will go to a state prison, although her minimum term might be completed, where she will receive a comprehensive mental health evaluation before being paroled.

Serfass also ordered her to supply a DNA sample, make total restitution of $429, and have no contact with Rufo.

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