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Carbon County court — threats

Published January 28. 2020 12:41PM

A Luzerne County man who threatened the staff of a Carbon County hospital entered a guilty plea on Thursday in the county court.

Stephen M. Taber Miller, 26, of Freeland, pleaded guilty to one count of terroristic threats.

He was one of two defendants in cases involving threats to enter guilty pleas before President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II.

Lehighton incident

Miller was arrested on Nov. 24 by Lehighton police. He called St. Luke’s hospital, where is wife was a patient, and demanded that she be immediately released. When told that was not possible, he began threatening the hospital staff. The victims reported during the call he said he was going to “shoot the place up.”

Miller admitted to mental health issues and is currently on medication. He told Nanovic that he had stopped taking his medication before the incident.

He told the court, “I lost control. I’m sorry for what I did.”

He is currently an inmate in the county prison on the charges. A second threats count and harassment charge was dropped in a plea bargain with the district attorney’s office.

Nanovic sentenced him to serve one to 12 months in prison and ordered he get both drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations and follow any recommendation for treatment, supply a DNA sample and must continue to take all medications as prescribed.

He was given credit for 59 days already served and paroled.

Nesquehoning incident

Ryan Patrick Nelson, 20, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to two counts of terroristic threats for an incident on July 17 in the borough. In exchange for the plea, two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person were dropped in a plea bargain.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, officer Richard Neikam was dispatched to an apartment complex in the 100 block of West Catawissa Street for a drug complaint filed by Nelson.

Upon arrival, Nelson told Neikam that another tenant was using methamphetamine and that the tenant struck Nelson in the head.

Officers went to the apartment to speak with the tenant the complaint was about, and he and a woman said that Nelson tried to attack the man and another woman with a knife.

The pair then left Nelson there and went to CVS, but received multiple phone calls from Nelson, including one where Nelson threatened to kill them.

The man told police that Nelson spotted them coming home and came running down the street toward them with a large kitchen knife, nearly striking them. He then grabbed the girl’s shoulder and punched the man in the head.

The pair called their resident adviser for the building and told her what happened. Nelson and the two victims are part of a program for those with mental health issues being supervised at the complex.

Nelson denied going after the two victims with a knife, but did admit he threatened to kill them.

Attorney Paul J. Levy, of the public defender’s office, said Nelson is receiving counseling for his mental health issues.

Nelson told the court, “I’d like to apologize for what happened.” He said he is trying to get his problems under control and added he had problems with the two victims before the incident that led to his arrest. He has been an inmate in the county prison since then.

Levy said the two victims were enrolled in the same program as Nelson at the apartment complex. He said the mental health unit supervising the group is working on setting up another program at a different location.

Nanovic sentenced Nelson to serve one to one day less 24 months in prison on each count, running concurrently, supply a DNA sample, no contact with the victims and continue to take his medications as prescribed.

He was given credit for 190 days already served and paroled.

Each defendant must also pay court costs of about $1,000 and a $50 per month supervision fee while on parole or probation.

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