The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 4, 2014

Man pleads guilty to attack on coach

SHARON — The man accused of attacking his high school football coach last summer pleaded guilty Friday to charges of aggravated assault and burglary.

The plea bargain approved by Mercer County Common Pleas Court President Judge Thomas R. Dobson will have Joseph K. Koscinski serving a sentence in the county jail instead of a state prison.

Koscinski, 38, admitted attacking Jim Wildman, 65, Aug. 11 in the Bentley Avenue home of the Sharon Tigers’ head coach.

In a hearing before Mercer County Common Pleas Court President Judge Thomas R. Dobson, lawyers for the prosecution and defense laid out the details of a plea agreement under which Koscinski pleaded guilty to two felony charges in exchange for the dismissal of other counts of burglary, reckless endangering another person and terroristic threats.

Randall T. Hetrick, Koscinski’s defense attorney, and District Attorney Robert G. Kochems negotiated the deal for a “maximum county sentence,” to be followed with mental health treatment and 11 years of probation supervision. Koscinski could not live within 10 miles of Wildman under the agreement.

Dobson said he would consider all of those factors but would not be bound by the residence limitation when he sentences Koscinski.

To support the plea, Kochems said he had the testimony of brothers David and Douglas LeMon, Wildman’s neighbors, who had played football with Koscinski on Sharon teams in 1992-93.

If there were a trial, they could testify that Koscinski asked them and they pointed out that Sunday afternoon where Wildman lived. They also were the first to intervene a few minutes later when they heard screaming and shouting and ran to Wildman’s house where they pulled Koscinski away from his attack.

Kochems said he also had the testimony of Wildman, who described how Koscinski broke through a storm door and attacked him in the entry way. Their struggle continued into the living room where Koscinski choked and punched Wildman and bit off a part of his ear before the LeMons pulled him away and Sharon police Lt. Gerald Smith arrived from his nearby home after hearing the sounds of the attack.

Koscinski told Dobson that he didn’t remember much about the attack but that under Hetrick’s advice he would enter an Alford plea.

Treated by the court as a guilty plea, it allows defendants to resolve charges against them if they believe a jury would find them guilty of a charge if jurors heard the evidence in the case.

Hetrick said he had given consideration to mounting an insanity defense but that Koscinski, whom he found to be mentally competent, would not qualify for such a strategy.

Kochems said aggravated assault has a sentence guideline range of 36 to 54 months and that although it wasn’t binding on the court, he would recommend a county jail sentence of about 2 years.

Koscinski, who has been in jail since Aug. 12, should be given credit for time served when he is sentenced next month, Hetrick said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 19, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Man admits having child porn

    A Mercer man accused of soliciting and downloading photographs of nude teenage girls pleaded guilty April 8 to sexual abuse of children for possessing child pornography.

    April 19, 2014

  • Police getting new tool to fight crime

    Sharon police working at crime scenes will be putting a powerful new investigative tool to work as soon as next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • Soap box derby finds new home

    The Greater Pennsylvania Super Kids soap box derby for special-needs kids is moving to Sharpsville.

    April 19, 2014

  • News briefs from April 18, 2014

    ‘Nonspecific threat’ prompts evacuation

    Supreme Court refuses to hear couple’s appeal

    Lung Association offering free radon test kits

    April 18, 2014

  • Man admits to choking; rape case is dropped

    A Greenville man on Thursday pleaded down a rape case to simple assault and continued to deny that he committed any sexual crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge issues tabletop ads injunction against couple

    A judge recently handed down an injunction prohibiting a Sharon man, his wife and two companies associated with the wife from working in the tabletop advertising business within 100 miles of Sharon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Tech waste eyed for new contact

    The current Hermitage solid waste contract was designed to increase recycling while reducing the amount of garbage placed at the curb, and it has lived up to its promise.

    April 18, 2014

  • WaterFire Rekindled

    WaterFire Sharon has chosen themes for its festivals to be held on three Saturdays in downtown Sharon. “Elements” will be the theme July 19, “Origins” for Aug. 23 and “Motion” for the Sept. 27 celebration.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 17, 2014

    Man arrested for running from accident scene

    UPMC, Southwest eyeing security at hospital

    Crashes cause diversion of Interstate 80 traffic

    Court supports prison term in chase case

    Woman gets 5-10 years in crash that killed officer

    April 17, 2014

  • Officials pledge support to sewer project

    Publicly declaring their intention to donate county land to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority, Commissioners Matt McConnell and John Lechner said there’s no need for Commissioner Brian Beader to worry about the loss of the sewer project at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange.

    April 17, 2014

  • Griswold Avenue fire Neighbors tried to save victim

    As flames and thick smoke poured out of a Sharon house Tuesday evening, neighbors rallied to try and save the man who lived there alone.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault

    Southwest Mercer County Regional police have arrested a Hermitage woman for breaking into a home in Farrell and beating a woman and are seeking the alleged assailant’s sister.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite good deeds, man going back to prison

    Linda K. Kretzer had nothing but praise for Raymond C. McKelvey.

    April 16, 2014

  • 15-year-old legal battle returning to county court

    State Supreme Court has let stand a Superior Court decision sending a landmark medical malpractice case back to Mercer County Common Pleas Court.

    April 16, 2014