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Man who made threats against court personnel gets jail time

Published August 03. 2018 02:31PM

An Albrightsville man was given a county prison term after previously admitting making threats against Carbon County courthouse personnel.

John Wasyliw, 54, was sentenced by Judge Steven R. Serfass to serve six to one day less 24 months in prison on a charge of terroristic threats.

The jail term will be followed by one year of probation. In a plea bargain with the district attorney’s office a charge of possession of a prohibited offensive weapon was dropped.

Wasyliw was arrested by state police at Fern Ridge for making the threats around Sept. 12, 2017. The threats stemmed from a long-running custody dispute.

Defense attorney Thoms Sundmaker, of Stroudsburg, told the court that his client has a history of “running his mouth.” In 2016 Wasyliw was convicted by a county jury of threatening a county judge and district attorney. Senior Judge John Rufe of Bucks County sentenced him to serve one to 12 months in prison on a charge of terroristic threats followed by two years of probation on charges of harassment. Wasyliw later served 180 days for a probation violation in that case.

Sundmaker asked the court to spare Wasyliw an additional jail term, saying he “has gotten the message.” He also argued that the deadly enhancement provision in the law did not apply in the case because no weapon was displayed and no actual action was taken to follow through with the verbal threats.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Gazo, who prosecuted the case, said the commonwealth was not requesting the deadly enhancement provision be applied in the case but added that was up to the court.

Serfass said he agreed the weapon enhancement did not apply in the case. If it did, then Wasyliw would have faced a longer prison term.

Wasyliw told the court he had learned from his actions, and added, “If that’s what I got to do, I’ll do it.”

Serfass dismissed the request for a probation sentence, stating the court “has concerns.” He added, “This is not the first time this has happened — threats.”

In addition to the jail term and probation period, Serfass also ordered Wasyliw to get both drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations and follow any recommendations for treatment, render 100 hours of community service when paroled, pay court costs of about $1,000 and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on parole and probation.

He was given credit for three days spent in jail on the charges. He will begin the jail term at noon on Saturday. He was granted work-release privileges.

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