Man admits setting car on fire; others enter guilty pleas
A Lansford man pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Carbon County court to setting a car on fire. He was one of 13 defendants in pending criminal cases to enter a guilty plea before Judge Joseph J. Matika.
Kyle M. Frantz, 20, pleaded guilty to one count each of reckless burning and criminal mischief.
He admitted setting fire to a Mercury Sable owned by then neighbor Katelyn Atkinson. The incident occurred on May 16, 2013.
Police responded to the 200 block of E. Ridge Street for the fire. Police noted the car was in the middle of the street and close to other vehicles and homes in the area.
On the burning charge Matika sentenced him to time served (176 days) to one year in jail, and on the mischief count one year probation, with the terms running consecutively.
He was also ordered to render a total of 75 hours of community service, supply a DNA sample, make restitution of $3,180.90, and have no contact with the victim.
Carrissa Whately, 24, of Lansford, pleaded to one count of aggravated assault.
She was arrested by Lansford police for an incident on Jan. 28, 2012, at 508 Lansford Court. Police said she broke into the residence of Cassandra Mitchell and struck her with the leg of a piece of furniture.
Mitchell was present at the plea hearing and told Matika that when Whately broke into her home and struck her, she was holding her 2-week-old son. She said Whateley could have easily struck her child.
Mitchell said she had to undergo a medical procedure for the injury to her face and is facing more medical treatment.
Matika deferred sentencing and ordered the adult probation office to prepare a presentence investigation (PSI) report.
Other defendants who entered pleas included:
Fabian D. Torres, 18, Albrightsville, pleaded to one count each of simple assault and resisting arrest.
He was arrested on Nov. 27, 2013, by Kidder Township police for an incident at 2 Vineland Road, Holiday Poconos development. Police responded to the Torres' residence for a request by his mother to have him removed from the home. When police attempted to remove him, he struck Officer David Mason and resisted arrest.
Matika placed him on probation for one year on each count, running concurrently, and ordered him to render 50 hours of community service, get a mental health evaluation, and attend and complete anger management counseling sessions.
Michael Lawrence Curry, 25, Lansford, pleaded to one count of theft. He was arrested on July 24, 2013, in the 700 block of E. Ridge Street, Lansford, by agents of the state Attorney General's office.
Curry arranged to sell drugs to a confidential informant. After the CI gave him $270 for the drugs, Curry fled on foot. He was apprehended and charged.
Matika placed him on probation for a year and ordered him to render 50 hours of community service.
Donna Marie Halechko, 47, Slatington, pleaded to two counts of theft and one each of identity theft and bad checks.
She was arrested by Weatherly police for an incident around Aug. 10, 2012. She took checks belonging to Michael Kelowitz and wrote them to herself and deposited them in the KNBT bank in Weatherly, then made cash withdrawals. The checks were drawn on a closed account.
Matika placed her on probation for a total of 18 months on the charges and ordered her to make restitution to the bank for $740, and render 75 hours of community service.
Moises Flores, 20, Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count each of simple assault and resisting arrest. He was arrested by Nesquehoning police on Nov. 2, 2013, in the area of 24 Allen St.
Police responded to the area for another incident and found Flores. When police stopped him to speak about the other incident Flores became combative. He assaulted Officer Dane O'Brien and resisted arrest.
Matika placed him on probation for a year on each charge, running concurrently, and ordered he render 50 hours of community service.
Jeffrey Lee Wentz, 45, Lehighton, pleaded to one count of criminal conspiracy-retail theft. He was arrested on July 6, 2013, by Mahoning Township police for his part in a theft incident at the Wa-Mart store.
It was noted Wentz is currently facing probation violation in Northampton County, where he is also an inmate in the county jail.
Matika sentenced him to serve two to 12 months in prison with credit for 60 days already served on the charge and was on parole. He was also ordered to render 50 hours of community service when released, make restitution of $136.60, a half share of the total taken, to Wal-mart, and to stay out of the Wal-Mart store.
He was then returned to Northampton prison.
Amanda L. Logenbach, 26, Lehighton, pleaded to one count of criminal conspiracy-retail theft.
She was arrested by Mahoning Township police for her part in a theft at the Wal-Mart store on July 30, 2013.
Sentencing was deferred and Matika ordered a PSI. He noted Logenbach has nine prior convictions for theft, five of them retail theft.
Zachary Rossi, 29, Tamaqua, formerly of Lansford, pleaded to one count each of false reports to law enforcement and false identification to law enforcement.
He was arrested on Nov. 23, 2013, by Mahoning Township police for an incident at the Wal-Mart store where a theft occurred. When confronted by police he gave a false ID and then made false statements to officers.
On the two counts Matika sentenced him to serve one to 12 months in the county prison with the terms running concurrently. He was also ordered to get a drug and alcohol evaluation and render 50 hours of community service.
He was granted work release privileges if he qualifies, Matika said.
The following defendants pleaded guilty to driving under the influence.
Carl William Carlson, 48, Bowmanstown, was arrested on July 24, 2013, by Nesquehoning police along SR93. He refused a blood test, and will lose his license for a year for the refusal.
Matika sentenced him to serve 72 hours to six months in jail, a fine of $300, one year additional license suspension, get a D&A evaluation, and render 25 hours of community service.
He will begin the jail term on Feb. 3 at 8 p.m.
Edward Herman Boggs Jr., 45, Lansford, was arrested on Sept. 27, 2013, along SR209 by Nesquehoning police. Given a test, the result was .14 BAC.
A first offense, Boggs was placed on probation for six months and ordered to pay a fine of $300, get a D&A evaluation, and render 25 hours of community service.
Chad D. Fisher, 30, Catasauqua, formerly of Lehighton, was arrested on Nov. 24, 2013, along SR248 in Bowmanstown, by state police at Lehighton. Given a test, the result was .10 BAC.
Fisher was previously placed in the county's Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) probation program for violating the conditions.
A first offense, Matika placed him on probation for six months and ordered he pay a fine of $300, get a D&A evaluation, and render 25 hours of community service.
David D. Smith, 31, Lehighton, was arrested on April 2, 2013, along Blakeslee Boulevard Drive by Mahoning Township police. Given a test, the result showed the presence of a controlled substance.
He also entered a plea in another case to possession for/of a controlled substance. He was arrested on that charge on Aug. 30, 2013, along Union Hill Road, in Franklin Township.
He was a passenger in the vehicle stopped made by state police at Lehighton. Troopers found Smith with illegal drugs on his person.
On the DUI charge Matika sentenced him to serve 72 hours to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000, one year license suspension, get a D&A evaluation, zero tolerance for D&A use, and render 25 hours of community service.
On the drug count he was placed on probation for a year, consecutive to the DUI charge, and ordered to render an additional 50 hours of community service.
He began the jail term immediately.
Each defendant sentenced must also pay court costs, which average about $1,000, and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.